ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT

Research Notes

Same Enzyme Repairs DNA, Repels Pathogens An enzyme involved in genome defense has been shown to attack invading pathogens (W-M. Chu et al., "DNA-PKcs is required for activation of innate immunity by immunostimulatory DNA," Cell, 103:909-18, Dec. 8, 2000). Researchers already knew that DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) in the nucleus repairs DNA double-stranded breaks created by radiation, but the role of DNA-PK in the cytoplasm was unknown. Testing DNA immunostimulatory (ISS) sequences in

Jennifer Fisher Wilson

Same Enzyme Repairs DNA, Repels Pathogens

An enzyme involved in genome defense has been shown to attack invading pathogens (W-M. Chu et al., "DNA-PKcs is required for activation of innate immunity by immunostimulatory DNA," Cell, 103:909-18, Dec. 8, 2000). Researchers already knew that DNA-dependent protein kinase (DNA-PK) in the nucleus repairs DNA double-stranded breaks created by radiation, but the role of DNA-PK in the cytoplasm was unknown. Testing DNA immunostimulatory (ISS) sequences in mice bred without DNA-PK, scientists at University of California, San Diego, discovered that the enzyme is the key to activating transcription factor NF-*B, leading to the activation of pathogen-attacking macrophages. Mice bred without the DNA-PK failed to mount an immune response against bacteria, viruses, and toxins. The scientists had theorized that the human body's innate immunity, the body's first-line defense system, must react like lower organisms such as bacteria to invading pathogens. But humans don't have...

Interested in reading more?

Become a Member of

Receive full access to digital editions of The Scientist, as well as TS Digest, feature stories, more than 35 years of archives, and much more!
Already a member?
ADVERTISEMENT