Environmental Factor, October 2011, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences
Cavanaugh and Wilson group paper highlighted by JBC
By Eddy Ball
Along with her research in structural biology, Cavanaugh is a member of the NIEHS Trainees Assembly Steering Committee. (Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)
The Sept. 9 issue of the Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) showcases the issue's paper of the week, from the NIEHS DNA Repair and Nucleic Acid Enzymology Group, with a cover illustration featuring an x-ray crystallographic image from the paper and a profile of its first author, postdoctoral fellow Nisha Cavanaugh, Ph.D.
JBC associate editors and editorial board members bestow the honor of paper of the week to the top one percent of papers reviewed in terms of significance and overall importance, according to the JBC website. JBC is the most cited journal in biomedical research, publishing some 38,000 pages of new research each year as well as enjoying an impact factor of 5.328 and the highest overall importance eigenfactor score of any journal in its category.
A multifaceted approach
The DNA Repair and Nucleic Acid Enzymology Group is headed by senior researcher Samuel Wilson, M.D.(https://www.niehs.nih.gov/research/atniehs/labs/gisbl/pi/dnarna/index.cfm), who was lead researcher on the paper (see story(https://factor.niehs.nih.gov/2011/august/science-ribonucleotide/index.cfm)), and is part of the NIEHS Laboratory of Structural Biology (LSB). As Wilson explained, the study resulted from a multifaceted approach toward understanding the enzyme DNA polymerase (pol) beta that involved a collaborative effort between members of his own group - William Beard, Ph.D., Vinod Batra, Ph.D., Cavanaugh, and David Shock - and members of the LSB Computational Chemistry and Molecular Modeling Group - head Lee Pedersen, Ph.D., and Lalith Perera, Ph.D.
In the JBC author profile, Cavanaugh pointed to the primary components of the team's approach, stating, “In this study, we build on our previous work and use four different methods - site-directed mutagenesis, kinetics, x-ray crystallography, and computational modeling - to examine how pol beta excludes ribonucleotides from its active site.”
In the course of her scientific training at the University of Colorado at Boulder and NIEHS, Cavanaugh has been a coauthor on eight peer-reviewed publications, four of them since joining the Wilson group in 2009. Three of them have appeared in JBC, another four were published in Biochemistry, and one appeared in Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences.
Citation: Cavanaugh NA, Beard WA, Batra VK, Perera L, Pedersen LG, Wilson SH(https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21733843) . 2011. Molecular insights into DNA polymerase deterrents for ribonucleotide insertion. J Biol Chem 286(36):31650-31660.