SciLifeLab The Svedberg seminar series 2014-03-31

Björn Schumacher

Cologne Excellence Cluster for Cellular Stress Responses in Aging-Associated Diseases (CECAD), Institute for Genetics, University of Cologne, Köln, Germany

Björn Schumacher is interested in understanding how genome instability contributes to ageing and disease. He did his PhD at the Max Planck Institute for Biochemistry where he investigated the ancestral pathway of p53 mediated apoptosis. During his postdoc at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam he established molecular links between DNA damage accumulation with ageing and longevity assurance pathways. Since 2009, Schumacher is heading the group for genome stability in ageing and disease at the CECAD Excellence Cluster at the University of Cologne in Germany.


Systemic DNA damage responses: Organismal adaptations to genome instability

Genome integrity in germ cells is essential for offspring generation. In C. elegans germ cells highly conserved DNA damage checkpoints halt cell cycle progression to allow time for repair or undergo apoptosis to remove damaged cells. We uncovered that somatic tissues respond to genome instability in germ cells by elevated resistance to stress in what we termed “germline DNA damage-induced systemic stress resistance” (GDISR). GDISR is mediated by an ancestral innate immune response that is triggered in genomically compromised germ cell and leads to the activation of the ubiquitin proteasome system (UPS) in somatic tissues. Enhanced UPS activity consequently establishes the organismal stress resistance. Conceptually similar to cellular DNA damage checkpoints, we propose that GDISR functions as a systemic DNA damage checkpoint that elevates somatic endurance thereby extending reproductive lifespan when germ cells require extended time for restoring genome stability before offspring generation can resume.

Host: Alexei Maklakov