Enhanced DNA repair through droplet formation and p53 oscillations

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Living organisms are constantly exposed to DNA damage, and optimal repair is therefore crucial. A charac-teristic hallmark of the response is the formation of sub-compartments around the site of damage, known as foci. Following multiple DNA breaks, the transcription factor p53 exhibits oscillations in its nuclear concen-tration, but how this dynamics can affect the repair remains unknown. Here, we formulate a theory for foci formation through droplet condensation and discover how oscillations in p53, with its specific periodicity and amplitude, optimize the repair process by preventing Ostwald ripening and distributing protein material in space and time. Based on the theory predictions, we reveal experimentally that the oscillatory dynamics of p53 does enhance the repair efficiency. These results connect the dynamical signaling of p53 with the micro-scopic repair process and create a new paradigm for the interplay of complex dynamics and phase transi-tions in biology.

Original languageEnglish
Issue number23
Pages (from-to)4394-4408
Number of pages26
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2022

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