All cells experience DNA damage but it's usually minor and can be repaired. The latest research, published in the journal Nature Communications, highlights that standard repair processes are too slow for B cells, where intentional DNA damage is more severe. The results show that B cells plan ahead, priming the DNA repair process early, so when they intentionally damage their own DNA it can be fixed before it causes lasting harm.
As the paper's first author, Dr Manuel Díaz-Muñoz said: "B cells walk a fine line, some DNA damage is needed for them to make effective antibodies to fight infections, but too much and they become harmful. It's a tough situation to manage biochemically. Tia1 controls the production of a number of proteins that help cells respond to damaged DNA. Tia1 allows a rapid response from B cells so they can repair DNA damage at a moment's notice."
Illness - Antibody - Instructions - Antibodies - B
Each illness requires a specific antibody to defeat it. By damaging and repairing the genetic instructions that make antibodies, each B cell produces a unique antibody type and the most effective ones are then used to fight disease. This causes extensive damage to the DNA inside B cells and must be rapidly repaired or genetic mistakes may weaken the immune system or even cause cancer.
Scientists believed that...
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