NAGASAKI UNIVERSITY GLOBAL COE PROGRAM - Global Strategic Center for Radiation Health Risk Control
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Reports on Overseas' Conferences and Meetings
Report on Abcam conference “Maintenance of Genome Stability”

Keiji Suzuki, Department of Molecular Medicine

An international conference on the maintenance of genome stability was held in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico between March 4 and 7, 2008. This meeting was organized by Dr. Stephen Jackson from Cambridge University, who is one of the most famous scientists in the field of DNA damage and response, together with Abcam, a leading company that establishes and distributes antibodies against updated proteins. There were over 150 participants from all over the world, and the speakers were chosen from the scientists who lead the field. There were so many talks, which were highly relevant to the Nagasaki Global COE projects. Some topical talks were listed below.

It is well known that site-specific phosphorylation is the most important modification induced in cells in response to ionizing radiation. ATM-dependent phosphorylation plays a crucial role in DNA damage checkpoint signaling, and this time, some unexpected findings were reported. The initial event occurred immediately after irradiation is phosphorylation of histone H2AX, a member of histone H2A, which consists nucleosome core. Phosphorylated histone H2AX is recognized by MDC1, which was originally found as a mediator of DNA damaging signal. During the meeting, several groups have reported that MDC1 is constitutively phosphorylated by casein kinase II. This phosphorylation is essential for recruitment of NBS1, indicating the mechanism, by which transduces damage signal efficiently. Another novel finding was ubiquitination of histone H2AX by RNF8. RNF8 was originally discovered as a factor that binds to phosphorylated MDC1. RNF8 together with UBC13 ubiqutinate histone H2AX, and thereby, modifies chromatin structure. It is postulated that this chromatin structural alteration is required for the subsequent amplification of DNA damaging signal.

As expected, the conference was filled with novel findings and ideas that surely promote our current studies. They should contribute to the better understandings of DNA damage response in human cells, which take place after exposure to ionizing radiation. These results are also useful for development of chemicals that sensitize cancer cells to radiation. Furthermore, the accumulation of basic knowledge regarding the molecular response of cells to radiation must be taken into consideration of the better estimation of radiation health risks, which is the goal of Nagasaki Global COE program.
  International Radiation Health Sciences Research
    Atomic Bomb Disease Medicine Research
    Radiation Basic Life Sciences Research
    Workshop / Special Meeting
    Academic Exchange
    Reports on Overseas' Conferences and Meetings
    Cooperation with WHO
Publicity Activities
  Truth of radiology (in Japanese)
  Radiation Q&A (in Japanese)
    Introduction of Global Strategic Center for Radiation Health Risk Control
(in Japanese) [PDF 9MB]
    Visiting Report of Chelnobyl
Yasuyuki Taira, Graduate Student
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