Key role found for enzymes in DNA replication and sensitivity to chemotherapeutic drugs
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IMAGE: TLK inhibition leads to replication stress (green) and extensive DNA damage (red) in cultured cancer cells. view more 

Credit: Sandra Segura-Bayona, IRB Barcelona.

During cell growth, cells copy their DNA through a process called DNA replication. For this process to be accurate, the genetic and epigenetic information must be copied flawlessly. In this regard, researchers led by Travis H. Stracker at the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), in collaboration with Anja Groth’s group at the Biotech Research & Innovation Centre (BRIC), have identified a key role for the TLK1 and TLK2 enzymes in DNA replication.

“We demonstrated that TLK activity is critical to prevent extensive DNA damage and cell death during DNA replication. And in some human cancers, TLK1 and TLK2 correlate with clinical outcome, thus supporting the idea that they may be promising targets for inhibition,” explains Travis H. Stracker, head of the Genomic Instability and Cancer Lab.

Published in Science Advances, the study is based on previous studies that pointed to TLK1/2 as potential candidate targets in cancer therapy, and it provides new molecular details on their key functions in cancer cell proliferation.

This collaborative study has used state-of-the-art molecular approaches to analyze DNA

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