Young Investigator Group "Biochemistry of plant RecQ helicases"
The DNA, the genetic information of the organisms, is always subjected to damaging factors. But the stability of the genome is important for the survival of the cell and the maintenance of species. Therefore efficient repair pathways evolved during evolution, which are based on a network of specialized proteins.
One kind of proteins that play an important role in the maintenance of genomic stability are the RecQ helicases. Humans for example, possess five different RecQ helicases. A defect in three of them is linked to severe genetic diseases - to Bloom's, Werner, and Rothmund Thomson syndrome, respectively. While the overall symptomes differ in the different diseases, they are all charcterized by genomic instability. This genomic instability leads to the development of cancers. As the diseases arise by the defect of one single gene, and as they are different from each other, the different human RecQ helicases must have specialized functions.
In the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana (mouse-ear cress, thale cress) even seven different RecQ helicases have been identified. On the next subpage it is shown what this young investigator group in trying to find out about those RecQ helicases.