Free Radicals in Cell Nuclei?

Dr Jim Cummins cummins at POSSUM.MURDOCH.EDU.AU
Mon Jul 10 20:10:35 EST 1995

>kgpl at wrote:
>: Someone has suggested to me that a lot of age-related damage may
>: be the result of accidental miscopying of DNA due to the presence
>: of free-radicals in cell nuclei messing up the copying process.
>: Is this possible?

jerikse at  wrote

>Oxygen-derived radicals, such as radicals and peroxides, seem to be byproducts
>of a lot of cellular processes.  Cellular respiration, especially, seems to
>generate huge amounts of free radicals in cells, most of which are mopped up
>by superoxide dismutase and related free radical compensatory pathways.

Most if not all oxidative metabolism (the major generator of free radicals)
is confined to mitochondria.  Some think that sequestering this dangerous
business away from the nucleus to these sacrificial "slave" organelles is
essential to minimise the danger to the somatic genome.

Lindahl, T. (1993). Instability and decay of the primary structure of DNA.
Nature, Lond, 362, 709-725.

Max, B. (1992). This and that: hair pigments, the hypoxic basis of life and
the Virgilian journey of the spermatozoon. Trends Pharmacol Sci, 13,

Jim "Spermatology rules o~ o~ o~ o~" Cummins

Associate Professor in Veterinary Anatomy
Murdoch University, Western Australia 6150
Tel +61-9-360 2668, Fax +61-9-310 4144
E mail <cummins at>
URL <>
"An inordinate fondness for Beetles" (Haldane on God).

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