Who İs Aziz SANCAR ?

Who İs Aziz SANCAR ?

The Turkish scientist Aziz Sancar, who won the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, continues his beneficial works on behalf of humanity. Here is Aziz Sancar’s biography …

Aziz Sancar was born in 1946 in the town of Savur in Mardin, as the seventh child of a middle-income family engaged in farming. He completed his primary and secondary education in Savur, except for the second grade of primary school in Ankara. He went to high school in Mardin. Later, he graduated from Istanbul University Faculty of Medicine with the first place.

He studied biochemistry for a few years in the USA, where he went with a TÜBİTAK scholarship, but returned home due to some social adaptation problems and worked as a doctor in his hometown, Savur. However, his heart was still in scientific studies.

So he went back to the USA and started his doctorate in molecular biology at the University of Texas in Dallas. Continuing his post-doctoral research at Yale University, Aziz Sancar made very important discoveries here. Because of these achievements, he received an offer from Chapel Hill North Carolina University in the USA.

He continued his work there with the same speed and care and made important inventions again. Aziz Sancar, who received many awards during his research career of nearly forty years, was finally awarded the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for his inventions in DNA repair mechanisms.


Maxicell Method Development

Bacteria may contain smaller circular DNA molecules, called plasmids, apart from their chromosomes. Plasmids have been used as an important tool in molecular biology.

Aziz Sancar developed the Maxicell method in which the chromosome inside the bacterial cell is destroyed by the effect of UV rays and the plasmid is left intact and alone in the cell. Thus, for example, genes transferred in plasmid and their protein products can be examined without interfering with the bacteria’s own genes and proteins. Aziz Sancar actually developed this method to purify the enzymes involved in DNA repair, but the method went into the literature and Aziz Sancar’s related article received over 1000 citations. In addition, the term Maxicell has entered the Oxford Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Dictionary.

During his doctoral study at the University of Texas, Aziz Sancar discovered photolyase enzyme that repairs DNA damaged by UV (ultraviolet) radiation in bacteria.

It succeeded in cloning the gene encoding it, that is, obtaining it separately from the genome, and also allowing the bacterium to overproduce this enzyme. However later

he had to shelve this work. Years later he returned to this enzyme and clarified the mechanism by which photolyase in bacteria repairs DNA.

It also helped demonstrate that a human counterpart of photolyase plays a role in the functioning of the biological body clock called the kirkadyan clock.

Illumination of Nucleotide Extraction Repair Mechanism

This is one of the inventions that made Aziz Sancar “feel the greatest satisfaction and the serenity he rarely finds” in his own words. Although this repair mechanism was discovered in 1964, its details could not be resolved.

Sancar, who first started his work with bacteria, removed the damaged nucleotides in the bacterial DNA and 12 nucleotides around these nucleotides.

discovered that he cut it off. Sancar also investigated the human version of this repair. In humans, the situation was a little more complicated. With a test he developed, Aziz Sancar found how the 27 nucleotides around damaged nucleotides in DNA in humans were cut and discarded and how the “correct” nucleotides were placed in this space. He discovered that this mechanism works with 16 proteins synthesized by 16 genes. Aziz Sancar was awarded the Nobel Prize especially for his achievements in this field. Sancar also published a complete map of DNA repair genes in the human genome in May 2015 with his team.

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