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La Jolla, CA – In order to preserve our DNA, cells have developed an intricate system for monitoring and repairing DNA damage. Yet precisely how the initial damage signal is converted into a repair response remains unclear. Researchers at the Salk Institute for Biological Studies have now solved a crucial piece of the complex puzzle.

In a forthcoming article in the Dec. 24 issue of Molecular Cell, they show that a protein named CtIP plays an essential role in the DNA damage “signal-to-repair” conversion process. “Being able to repair damaged DNA is extremely important; the cell has to know when it has received this type of damage and respond appropriately,” explains Tony Hunter, Ph.D., American Cancer Society Professor in the Molecular and Cell Biology Laboratory and director of the Salk Institute Cancer Center, who led the study. “Failure to do so can have disastrous consequences.”

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