The link between UV exposure and development of skin cancer has been well-established by means of epidemiological and empirical evidence. From a chemical point of view, UV radiation is able to modify the integrity of the DNA molecule. The main damaging process leads to pyrimidine (Pyr) dimerization with formation of cyclobutane pyrimidine dimers (CPD) and (6-4) photoproducts (6-4PP). The key role of these dimeric lesions in skin cancer has been clearly established by the detection of a majority of mutations at bipyrimidine sites.
Fortunately, our organism has an efficient DNA repair toolbox that allows safeguarding the integrity of the genome in spite of the continuous exposure to damaging agents. In human, nucleotide excision repair (NER) is the sole pathway to remove CPD and 6-4PP.
In this context, efforts have been made to find alternatives by mimicking an additional repair pathway that corresponds to DNA photoreactivation catalyzed by photolyases.
During the ERASMUS stay, the student will perform the:
- synthesis and characterization (NMR, HRMS, etc.) of new compounds (chemical photolyases) able to absorb in the visible range and to repair the CPD through electron transfer
- photophysical studies of these new compounds using fluorescence, phosphorescence and laser flash photolysis techniques
- analysis by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) to evaluate the efficiency of the repair process
- the study of the photorepair using short oligonucleotides or DNA (in the case of the most promising compounds)
This stay will provide a multidisciplinar formation, allowing the student to put into practice the knowledge acquired during his/her studies, and to gain training in more specialized ones. Moreover, the student will have the opportunity to complement his/her formation by attending to the courses imparted at the Institute such as the “Laser Flash Photolysis school” or the course of “Lab Techniques”, etc.