Unwinding with the Repligators: A DNA Helicase needed for Maintaining Genome Integrity

Linda B. Bloom, Ph.D.

Professor & Associate Chair, Department of Biochemistry & Molecular Biology

Abstract: Genomic DNA provides the instruction set for cellular functions. It is critical for cells to maintain the structure of DNA to maintain the information contained in its sequence. This can be a challenging task because DNA is subject to damage by molecules that are a normal part of the cellular environment and that cannot be avoided (e.g. water, oxygen, and biomolecules) as well as by external environmental toxins and carcinogens. Pathways that surveil DNA to check for damage and repair damage are essential for keeping cells healthy and functioning properly. Our research team is using a bacterial model system (Escherichia coli) to discover pathways needed to protect cells from DNA damage, to characterize these pathways to determine how they function, and to identify conditions or factors that may cause them to malfunction. DNA damage tolerance and repair pathways are essential to maintaining healthy cells, and therefore, are generally conserved from bacteria to humans. A bacterial model system provides tools that allow researchers to perform genetic screens and identify novel genes required for DNA damage tolerance and repair as well as to discover pathways in which these genes function. A current project in our laboratory focusses on characterizing a DNA helicase that is important for helping cells overcome DNA damage that blocks DNA replication.

Dr. Linda Bloom is a biochemist in the UF College of Medicine. Her research focuses on uncovering molecular mechanisms used by cells to maintain the structure and sequence of genomic DNA.

Core Standards

SC.912.L.16.3 Describe the basic process of DNA replication and how it relates to the transmission and conservation of the genetic information

SC.912.L.16.5 Explain the basic processes of transcription and translation, and how they result in the expression of genes.

SC.912.L.16.6 Discuss the mechanisms for regulation of gene expression in prokaryotes and eukaryotes at transcription and translation level

SC.912.L.16.10 Evaluate the impact of biotechnology on the individual, society and the environment, including medical and ethical issues.

SC.912.L.16.8 Explain the relationship between mutation, cell cycle, and uncontrolled cell growth potentially resulting in cancer

SC.912.L.16.4 Explain how mutations in the DNA sequence may or may not result in phenotypic change. Explain how mutations in gametes may result in phenotypic changes in offspring


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