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Understanding photoprotection mechanisms in DNA by two-dimensional UV spectroscopy

Objective

"Since its discovery, DNA, the biomolecule that encodes the information necessary for the replication of life, has been the object of a vast amount of studies. The completed map of the human genome is a good example that illustrates the highly detailed information currently available about static properties of the DNA. In contrast, much less is known about the dynamic properties of DNA, i.e. about those processes occurring over ultrafast timescales shorter than a picosecond.

A particularly important dynamic process is the photoprotective mechanism. When ultraviolet (UV) radiation is absorbed by the DNA, the electronic energy acquired by the molecule is efficiently converted into vibrational energy (heat) on an ultrafast timescale (from a few tens to a few hundreds of femtoseconds) thus preventing DNA damage. This UV-induced damage to DNA has serious biological consequences, including skin cancer.

In this project we aim to establish a novel two-dimensional electronic spectroscopy technique in the ultraviolet (UV) range to study the photoprotective mechanism of the DNA.

The high temporal resolution and broad spectral tuning of the setup will enable to experimentally observe the fate of photoexcitation in DNA base monomers. These observations will unravel the details of the underlying mechanisms involved in the UV radiation dissipation, which are not only important to understand the photoprotection, but also to identify the mechanisms leading to DNA photodamage.

In addition, the results derived from this project will be crucial for further investigations in the field. For example, it will enable to investigate the misfolding mechanisms in proteins which have been connected to diseases such as Alzheimer, Parkinson and diabetes."

Field of science

  • /natural sciences/chemical sciences/analytical chemistry/spectroscopy
  • /medical and health sciences/clinical medicine/endocrinology/diabetes
  • /medical and health sciences/basic medicine/neurology/parkinson
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/biochemistry/biomolecules/proteins
  • /medical and health sciences/clinical medicine/oncology/cancer
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/genetics and heredity/genome
  • /medical and health sciences/clinical medicine/oncology/cancer/skin cancer
  • /medical and health sciences/basic medicine/neurology/alzheimer

Call for proposal

FP7-PEOPLE-2012-IEF
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

MC-IEF - Intra-European Fellowships (IEF)

Coordinator

POLITECNICO DI MILANO
Address
Piazza Leonardo Da Vinci 32
20133 Milano
Italy
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 149 783
Administrative Contact
Federico De Vettori (Dr.)