Duxin Group - Protein Signaling Program – University of Copenhagen

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Mechanisms of DNA repair and DNA replication in the Duxin Group

The primary goal of the Duxin Group is to describe fundamental processes of genome maintenance, essential for life and healthy development.



Research focus

The Duxin group, established in August of 2016,  studies the essential processes of genome duplication and genome maintenance. The group is particularly interested in understanding how cytotoxic DNA lesions known as DNA-protein crosslinks (DPCs) are cleared from the genome. DPCs are common DNA lesions generated by a wide variety of crosslinking agents. For example, many chemotherapeutic drugs used in the clinic cause DPCs.

Failure to repair DPCs interfere with DNA metabolism and threatens genomic integrity causing accelerated ageing and cancer in humans.

 “Understanding DPC repair is critical for human health, as many chemotherapeutic drugs used in the clinic exert their toxicity by generating DPCs and we know very little about the processes involved in clearing these lesions from the genome,” says Associate Professor and Group Leader Julien Duxin.

To this end, the Duxin group takes advantage of a protein extract system derived from eggs from African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis). These protein extracts have the remarkable capacity to reiterate processes of DNA replication and DNA repair in a cell-free environment, providing a unique opportunity to delineate the molecular mechanisms underlying complex DNA transactions.  

“Using frog egg extracts we are able to recapitulate DPC-repair in a test tube. This allows us to manipulate this process and interrogate which are the main players orchestrating this reaction,“ says Julien Duxin.

Main findings

Repair of a DNA-protein crosslink by replication-coupled proteolysis” 
During his post-doctoral training, Dr Julien Duxin was able to recapitulate DNA-protein crosslink repair using Xenopus egg extracts. This study revealed how this repair process is tightly coupled to DNA replication.

“Mechanism of replication-coupled DNA-protein crosslink proteolysis by SPRTN and the proteasome” (Gao et al. 2018, submitted).
A new study from the Duxin group presents two mechanisms of replication-coupled DPC proteolysis and provide the molecular links that couple these processes to DNA replication. By employing different DPC proteases, cells possess a versatile system that can cope with a wide diversity of DPCs.

Staff of the Duxin Group

Group Leader: Associate Professor Julien Duxin

Top row from the left: Irene Gallina, Lisa Schubert (shared with Mailand group), Mathilde Hyldig (former)
Bottom row: Nicolai Larsen, Julien Duxin

 

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