UNC researchers pinpoint new role for enzyme in DNA repair, kidney cancer

The discovery, from the lab of Brian Strahl, PhD, offers insights for the creation of better, more targeted therapies for various forms of cancer.

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Twelve years ago, UNC School of Medicine researcher Brian Strahl, PhD, found that a protein called Set2 plays a role in how yeast genes are expressed – specifically how DNA gets transcribed into messenger RNA. Now his lab has found that Set2 is also a major player in DNA repair, a complicated and crucial process that can lead to the development of cancer cells if the repair goes wrong. 

Dr. Michael Pignone
Dr. Michael Pignone

“We found that if Set2 is mutated, DNA repair does not properly occur” said Strahl, professor of biochemistry and biophysics. “One consequence could be that if you have broken DNA, then loss of this enzyme could lead to downstream mutations from inefficient repair. We believe this finding helps explain why the human version of Set2 – which is called SETD2 – is frequently mutated in cancer.”

Read the full story on the UNC Health Care/UNC School of Medicine Newsroom website