Kasper Astrup Eriksen
Localization of DNA damage by current exchanging repair enzymes: effects of cooperativity on detection time
Theoretical Biology and Medical Modelling 2, 15 (2005)

Background: How DNA repair enzymes find the relatively rare sites of damage is not known in great detail. Recent experiments and molecular data suggest that individual repair enzymes do not work independently of each other, but interact with each other through charges exchanged along the DNA. A damaged site in the DNA hinders this exchange. The hypothesis is that the charge exchange quickly liberates the repair enzymes from error-free stretches of DNA. In this way, the sites of damage are located more quickly but how much more quickly is not known, nor is it known whether the charge exchange mechanism has other observable consequences.
Results: Here the size of the speed-up gained from this charge exchange mechanism is calculated and the characteristic length and time scales are identified. In particular, for Escherichia coli, I estimate the speed-up is 50000/N, where N is the number of repair enzymes participating in the charge exchange mechanism. Even though N is not exactly known, a speed-up of order 10 is not entirely unreasonable. Furthermore, upon over expression of all the repair enzymes, the location time only varies as N-1/2 and not as 1/N.
Conclusion: The revolutionary hypothesis that DNA repair enzymes use charge exchange along DNA to locate damaged sites more efficiently is actually sound from a purely theoretical point of view. Furthermore, the predicted collective behavior of the location time is important in assessing the impact of stress-ful and radioactive environments on individual cell mutation rates.

LU TP 03-49