DNA damage response by caspase-activated DNAse (CAD): a physiological process with pathophysiological potential?

Project start
Institution: Institute of Microbiology and Hygiene, Universitätsklinikum Freiburg
Applicant: Prof. Dr. Georg Häcker
EKFS funding line: Key Project
Image: Dr. Abdul Moeed

Damage to the chromosomal DNA of a human cell is very common and potentially dangerous, as it can be involved in the development of cancer. DNA damage can be caused by some cellular enzymes (DNAses). We are pursuing the hypothesis that one of these enzymes, caspase-activated DNAse (CAD), functions to induce an immune response through ‘intentional’ DNA damage, thereby alerting the cell and the body to infection. CAD activation can occur through weak signals from mitochondria, which in turn can be triggered by many stimuli (such as infection). We believe that such an immunological mechanism could be important because of its broad applicability to many (or all) infections.

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