Chistol Lab Website Homepage Artwork Details
October 31, 2019
This beautiful piece was created by an incredibly talented independent artist – Sarina Mitchel to illustrate the key steps in the repair of a very toxic form of DNA damage called DNA Protein Crosslinks. The artwork was originally intended as a cover proposal to accompany Gheorghe’s postdoc paper “The CMG Helicase Bypasses DNA-Protein Cross-Links to Facilitate Their Repair” (Sparks and Chistol et al, 2019). Alas – the journal editors chose a different image, but we felt that the art deserves to be seen and enjoyed, so it became our website landing image.
The eukaryotic replicative helicase CMG unwinds double-stranded DNA by threading
one DNA strand through a narrow pore in the center of the helicase while sterically
excluding the other strand. Covalent DNA-protein crosslinks (DPCs) are bulky DNA
lesions that impede replication by acting as roadblocks in the path of the helicase. Sparks & Chistol et al. dissect how the replicative helicase copes with DNA-
protein crosslinks using Xenopus egg extracts and a combination of ensemble and
single-molecule approaches. This study found that, surprisingly, the replicative helicase
bypasses intact DPCs, and that bypass triggers DPC proteolysis. The artwork is an
artistic representation of various stages of DPC (orange) bypass by CMG (green) aided
by the accessory helicase RTEL1 (magenta). Image by Sarina Mitchel Art & Illustration.