Australian researchers have discovered a new protein called OTUB1 that is responsible for blocking DNA repair in cell and help spread a broad range of cancers.
The results of the study -published in the journal Nature - led by Daniel Durocher, Anne-Claude Gingras and Frank Sicheri from Toronto University revealed how cells control their genetic material.
According to the statement released by the university, the study findings have increased understanding of familial breast and ovarian cancer through the discovery of the new protein, OTUB1 that inhibits the action of BRCA1 a DNA repair protein that usually mutates itself to form cancer cells.
Daniel Durocher, lead researcher said, In recent years, we have been very good at finding proteins necessary for DNA repair. But what we did not appreciate was that gatekeepers existed to inhibit the capacity of the cell to repair DNA.
The obvious question is - Can we enhance the ability of the cell to repair DNA by blocking OTUB1?
In their effort to uncover OTUB1, the researchers utilized RNA Interference (RNAi) - which is responsible in regulating which genes are active and how active they are.
OTUB1 was found to inhibit a cell's DNA repair mechanisms through its role in a process called ubiquination, following the exposure of the cells to radiation.
Durocher said since mutations in genes that repair DNA can lead to cancer, infertility and immune deficiency, they could inhibit the proteins that prevent DNA repair and this could lead to new therapeutic developments to treat the diseases.
He explained by inhibiting the protein OTUB1, healthy cells will be able to endure radiation from cancer treatment and some chemotherapy drugs like doxorubicin.
He also added that inhibition of OTUB1 activity may open doors for the development of treatments for genetic immunodeficiency disease where cells lose their ability to repair DNA damage.