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Additional roles of the key DNA-damage protein ATR

  • Researcher: Professor Marco Foiani
  • Institution: IFOM The FIRC Institute of Molecular Oncology Foundation
  • Award Amount: £169,656 for 3 years from January 2014
  • Cancer Type: General Cancer Research
Additional roles of the key DNA-damage protein ATR
Professor Foiani is using his Worldwide Cancer Research grant to study a protein called ATR. ATR is well known to be involved in repairing damaged DNA to prevent cells becoming cancerous but Professor Foiani has recently found it plays another role in response to external cell stress. This stress could be sudden changes in the concentration of molecules surrounding the cell, causing a rapid movement of water across the cell membrane into or out of the cell, or some sort of physical stimulation. Under these conditions, ATR gets turned on and moves from its normal location to the nuclear membranes which encircles the nucleus, the 'brain' of the cell. Professor Foiani believes ATR plays a role in a mechanical response to cell membrane stress that helps pass messages into the nucleus through the nuclear membrane. This allows the cells to then react to the external stress. By understanding the role of ATR better, it could help researchers develop better cancer treatments in the future.
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