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The DNA-repair capacity in somatic cells is limited compared with that in germ cells. It has remained unknown whether not only lesion-type-specific, but overall repair capacities could be improved. Here we show that the DREAM repressor complex curbs the DNA-repair capacities in somatic tissues of Caenorhabditis elegans . Mutations in the DREAM complex induce germline-like expression patterns of multiple mechanisms of DNA repair in the soma. Consequently, DREAM mutants confer resistance to a wide range of DNA-damage types during development and aging. Similarly, inhibition of the DREAM complex in human cells boosts DNA-repair gene expression and resistance to distinct DNA-damage types. DREAM inhibition leads to decreased DNA damage and prevents photoreceptor loss in progeroid Ercc1 −/− mice. We show that the DREAM complex transcriptionally represses essentially all DNA-repair systems and thus operates as a highly conserved master regulator of the somatic limitation of DNA-repair capacities.
Open Access Paper: