An international team led by scientists at the National Institutes of Health is the first to discover a new way that cells fix an important and dangerous type of DNA damage known as a DNA-protein crosslink (DPC). The researchers found that a protein named ZATT can eliminate DPCs with the help of another protein, TDP2. Since DPCs form when individuals receive some types of cancer treatments, understanding how TDP2 and ZATT work together to repair the damage may improve the health outcomes of cancer patients. The findings were published in the journal Science.
Researchers knew that TDP2 was important for removing DPCs, but they did not know how it was directed to where it needed to work, according to corresponding author Scott Williams, Ph.D., deputy chief of the Genome Integrity and Structural Biology Laboratory at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS), part of NIH. Williams and his team used a multi-pronged approach to identify ZATT as a new contributor to this process and determine how it guides TDP2 to DPCs so they can be repaired.