JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY JAMES KING-HOLMES / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
DNA repair enzyme. Computer simulation of a HAP1 (lower right, also called APE/Ref-1) enzyme repairing a damaged Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA, upper left) molecule. HAP1 is coloured to show the alpha helices (blue) and beta strands (red) of its structure. DNA carries a cell's genetic code. The DNA in each cell is damaged 2000-10,000 times a day by hydrolysis reactions which convert N- glycosyl bonds into apurinic/apyrimidinic fractures. DNA damage can cause cell death or cancer. HAP1 is the first protein to recognise the damage & starts repairs by breaking the DNA's molecular backbone so that other proteins can replace the faulty section.
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