1 Department of Molecular Biology, Faculty of Science, Aarhus University, Aarhus University2 Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics - Department of Molecular Biology, Department of Molecular Biology and Genetics, Science and Technology, Aarhus University
The soil nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has become a prominent model organism for studying aging and many age-related diseases. We use C. elegans to study the relationship between cancer and aging. To prevent cancer, cells are equipped with surveillance systems that detect damage and stop cells from dividing. These surveillance systems are collectively called cellular checkpoints. We have found that inactivation of certain checkpoint proteins, including p53, also cause resistance to the chemotherapeutic drug hydroxyurea (HU) that stalls replication. We have found that in C. elegans, HU inhibits ribonucleotide reductase (RNR). RNR is involved in synthesis of deoxyribonucleotide (dNTP) precursors for DNA replication and repair. Previously we have shown that inactivation of some checkpoint proteins can increase stress resistance and lifespan of C. elegans1. Interestingly, several genes that influence HU resistance also influence lifespan and stress resistance. At least one of these genes seems to function in the S-M checkpoint pathway. 1. A. Olsen, M. C. Vantipalli, G. J. Lithgow, Science 312, 1381 (2006).