DNA protection protein, a novel mechanism of radiation tolerance: Lessons from tardigrades

Takuma Hashimoto, Takekazu Kunieda

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Genomic DNA stores all genetic information and is indispensable for maintenance of normal cellular activity and propagation. Radiation causes severe DNA lesions, including double-strand breaks, and leads to genome instability and even lethality. Regardless of the toxicity of radiation, some organisms exhibit extraordinary tolerance against radiation. These organisms are supposed to possess special mechanisms to mitigate radiation-induced DNA damages. Extensive study using radiotolerant bacteria suggested that effective protection of proteins and enhanced DNA repair system play important roles in tolerability against high-dose radiation. Recent studies using an extremotolerant animal, the tardigrade, provides new evidence that a tardigrade-unique DNA-associating protein, termed Dsup, suppresses the occurrence of DNA breaks by radiation in human-cultured cells. In this review, we provide a brief summary of the current knowledge on extremely radiotolerant animals, and present novel insights from the tardigrade research, which expand our understanding on molecular mechanism of exceptional radio-tolerability.

Original languageEnglish
Article number26
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Jun 15


  • Damage suppressor (Dsup)
  • Extremophiles
  • Radiotolerance
  • Reactive oxygen species (ROS)
  • Tardigrade


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