Title of project or programme
Title of PIMolecular Characterisation of Single-Strand Break Repair and Related Responses and their Role in Neuroprotection
Principal Investigators of project/programme grant
ProfessorKeithCaldecottUniversity of SussexUK
Address of institution of lead PI
InstitutionUniversity of Sussex
Street AddressSussex House
PostcodeBN1 9RH
  • United Kingdom
Source of funding information

Medical Research Council

Total sum awarded (Euro)


Start date of award


Total duration of award in months


The project/programme is most relevant to
  • Neurodegenerative disease in general
Research abstract in English

Single-strand breaks (SSBs) arise from a variety of sources including oxidative stress and are the commonest DNA lesions arising in cells (tens of thousands per cell per day). If not repaired, SSBs can block transcription and DNA replication and lead to genetic instability and cell death. Strikingly, recent work from my laboratory has identified that two proteins associated with hereditary neurodegenerative disease are intimate components of the single-strand break repair (SSBR) machinery, and that cells from one of these diseases possess a major defect in chromosomal SSBR. We have thus recently proposed that SSBR is critical for genetic integrity and survival in neurons, and that this process is vital for normal neurological function. These observations also raise the intriguing possibility that SSBR capacity is an aetiological factor not only for pathological neurological conditions but also for normal human ageing. In the current proposal, we will identify and characterise novel polypeptide components of SSBR and related processes to advance and extend our understanding of this critical process. To achieve this we will employ a combination of genetic, biochemical/proteomic, and cellular approaches, and also implement two new techniques that we are developing. The latter will allow us to characterise, for the first time, SSBR at a site-specific chromosomal SSB (e.g. using ChIP analyses) and to dissect this process within a context of defined chromatin structure. In addition, we will test directly and unambiguously our hypothesis that SSBR is critical for normal neurological function. To achieve this, we will examine the importance of SSBR for genetic integrity and cell survival in primary neurons and for normal neurological function in vivo, using mouse model systems.

Lay summary
In which category does this research fall?
  • Basic research

    Types: Investments > €500k
    Member States: United Kingdom
    Diseases: Neurodegenerative disease in general
    Years: 2011
    Database Categories: N/A
    Database Tags: N/A

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