Mitochondrial DNA: another target for radiotherapy?

At the core of our cells, small compartments known as mitochondria contain a DNA that is still not well known but which may have a role to play in the effectiveness of radiotherapy treatments. This is what researchers from Institut Curie and the CEA are going to explore.
Arturo Londono

The ionizing rays used in radiotherapy attack the cells' DNA, causing malfunctions that lead to the death of the cells in question. Our cells contain another type of DNA in their mitochondria: sub-compartments of cells that are referred to as the energy producers of the cells. This DNA is also affected by radiotherapy. Its alteration could thus contribute to the destruction of cancerous cells, but the DNA in the mitochondria can also be repaired by a specific protein known as OGG1. Thanks to funding from a PIC3i, Arturo Londoño-Vallejo and his colleagues are going to study this as yet little-known field. By studying the DNA of the mitochondria on a molecular scale, they will attempt to understand the precise effects of radiation on this DNA, the contribution of these effects to the toxicity of rays for the cell and the contradictory contribution of OGG1. Researchers from Institut Curie will pool their talents, in particular in DNA sequencing and in bioinformatics, with the expertise of a team from the CEA specialized in the biological effects of ionizing radiation and mitochondrial DNA.