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Title: The role of topoisomerase II in replication in mammalian cells
Author: Muftic, Diana
ISNI:       0000 0004 2720 1937
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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Topoisomerase 2α (Topo2α) is an essential protein with DNA decatenating enzymatic properties, indispensable for chromosome decatenation and segregation. It is a target for a plethora of antitumour drugs and Topo2α protein levels have been associated with the success of treatment, but also drug resistance and secondary malignancies. Although unique in its ability to resolve catenated chromosomes, the role of Topo2α in other steps of DNA metabolism, such as DNA replication elongation and termination have been elusive. A thorough understanding of the role of Topo2α in the cell will not only allow for increased insight into the mechanisms it is involved in, but it will also shed light on proteins and pathways that can act as back-up in its absence, and therefore hopefully expand the basis on which to improve treatment options. Through a synthetic lethal interaction (SLI) screen with an siRNA library targeting 200 DNA repair and signalling genes, Topo2α emerged as being synthetic lethal to Werner protein (WRN), a RecQ helicase involved in maintaining genome integrity mainly in S phase, and the loss of which leads to Werner Syndrome (WS), a segmental progeroid syndrome. The screen was performed in WRN deficient cells, with the initial aim to find proteins that act to buffer against loss of viability, which is the central idea in the concept of synthetic lethality in the absence of WRN. The screen revealed an SLI between WRN and Topo2α and although we were unable to fully validate this, it spurred the question of Topo2α’s role in DNA replication. The findings in this thesis suggest that Topo2α is not required for DNA elongation and timely completion of S phase, and that simultaneous loss of the closely related isoform Topo2β does not affect replication, suggesting that these proteins do not act in parallel back-up pathways during replication. Interestingly, cells accumulate in the polyploid fraction after both depletion and inhibition of Topo2α, albeit with different kinetics. The mechanistic basis of this phenotype remains to be understood through further research, but it is highly interesting as aneuplidity and polyploidy are implicated in the initial stages of tumour development.
Supervisor: Helleday, Thomas Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Cell Biology (see also Plant sciences) ; Tumours ; Genetics (life sciences) ; Mammalian chromosome ; Biology (medical sciences) ; Radiation ; Topoisomerase ; Werner Syndrome ; DNA combing ; DNA replication ; DNA repair ; siRNA screening ; synthetic lethality