The Tardigrade Protein helps Human DNA resist radiation
Researchers wanted to learn how tardigrades protect themselves from such harsh conditions. Kunieda’s team began by sequencing Ramazzottius Varieornatus – a species known for its high tolerance to stress. Kunieda says it’s easier to understand processes in the tardigrade cells when the animal genome is inserted in mammalian cell. Researchers manipulated human cell cultures to create pieces of water bears’ inner machinery in order to determine what parts gave the animals their resistance.
Kunieda’s team discovered that the protein Dsup was preventing the DNA of the animals from being damaged by radiation and desiccation. They also discovered that tardigrade-tinged cells in human cells could suppress X-ray-induced damage by 40%.
Ingemar Jönsson, evolutionary ecologist and tardigrade researcher at Kristianstad University, Sweden, says that DNA repair and protection is an important component in all cells. It also plays a key role in many diseases in humans, such as cancer and aging.