DNA and Chromosomes
- Huntington's disease (HD), a neurodegenerative disease characterized by progressive dementia, psychiatric problems, and chorea, is known to be caused by CAG repeat expansions in the HD gene HTT. However, the mechanism of this pathology is not fully understood. The translesion DNA polymerase θ (Polθ) carries a large insertion sequence in its catalytic domain, which has been shown to allow DNA loop-outs in the primer strand. As a result of high levels of oxidative DNA damage in neural cells and Polθ's subsequent involvement in base excision repair of oxidative DNA damage, we hypothesized that Polθ contributes to CAG repeat expansion while repairing oxidative damage within HTT.
- Proliferating cell nuclear antigen (PCNA) and its posttranslational modifications regulate DNA metabolic reactions, including DNA replication and repair, at replication forks. PCNA phosphorylation at Tyr-211 (PCNA-Y211p) inhibits DNA mismatch repair and induces misincorporation during DNA synthesis. Here, we describe an unexpected role of PCNA-Y211p in cancer promotion and development. Cells expressing phosphorylation-mimicking PCNA, PCNA-Y211D, show elevated hallmarks specific to the epithelial-mesenchymal transition (EMT), including the up-regulation of the EMT-promoting factor Snail and the down-regulation of EMT-inhibitory factors E-cadherin and GSK3β.