Prof. Marcin Nowotny, the winner of the Foundation for Polish Science 2022 award for explaining the molecular mechanisms of DNA damage recognition and repair, recently gave an interview to the Polish Radio 1, in which he introduces the subject of his research and explains its significance.
"Our goal was to understand how a certain group of proteins act and interact with DNA. We used protein crystallography methods to do this. We wanted to understand at the level of individual atoms what processes take place there. We study these processes in both bacteria and higher organisms. These processes occur in a similar way, but the details of the mechanisms are different between these types of organisms," says Prof. Marcin Nowotny.
Thanks to the research, it was possible to identify the first spatial structure of a protein that is responsible for detecting DNA damage, regardless of its origin. - "It turned out that this protein uses a clever mechanism. Instead of checking exactly what happens to each brick, it checks for global distortions that occur in the DNA. It turns out that if this chemical structure of DNA is distorted by the presence of foreign chemical groups, the DNA becomes more flexible. And if this protein detects that this flexibility is increased, this is the first signal to the organism that something is wrong." - Prof. Nowotny adds
Tomorrow, November 23 at 4 pm, we also invite you to an online meeting with Prof. Marcin Nowotny, during which he will give a popular-science lecture entitled "Structural biology - how to understand processes in the cell at the level of single atoms." Details of the event - at the link