Scientists Discover a Key Quality-Control Mechanism In DNA Replication

Findings could have relevance for neurologic diseases and other conditions

When cells in the human body divide, they must first make accurate copies of their DNA. The DNA replication exercise is one of the most important processes in all living organisms and is fraught with risks of mutation, which can lead to cell death or cancer. Now, in a landmark finding, biologists from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and from the University of Leeds in the UK have identified a multi-protein “machine” in cells that helps govern the pausing or stopping of DNA replication to ensure its smooth progress. The discovery, published March 29, 2024 in Cell, advances the understanding of DNA replication, helps explain a puzzling set of genetic diseases, and could inform the development of future treatments for neurologic and developmental disorders. The article is titled “The SPATA5-SPATA5L1 ATPase Complex Directs Replisome Proteostasis to Ensure Genome Integrity.”

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