AntiHelix: DNA helicases in genome maintenance: from molecular and cellular mechanisms to specific inhibitors as potential drugs
H2020-MSCA ITN (ETN) 2019

Helicases are ubiquitous enzymes, found in viruses, Bacteria, Archaea and eukaryotic cells. They act as motor proteins to separate or remodel DNA or RNA duplexes, using ATP as an energy source. Their activity is essential in nucleic acid metabolism, playing a key role in a variety of cellular processes, including DNA replication, repair, recombination, as well as RNA translation and transport. Due to their importance in the cell, they are emerging as a new class of antibacterial, antiviral and ant-cancer drug targets. To date, several genetic and biochemical studies have revealed the molecular and physiological functions of DNA helicases. In addition, protein three-dimension structural studies coupled with single molecule biophysical approaches have provided insights into structure-function relationships and reaction mechanisms of some key DNA helicases.

The AntiHelix consortium includes academic and industrial partners with the aim of training young researchers, able to use a wide range of interdisciplinary approaches for the characterisation of the structure and function of medically relevant human helicases, to design novel inhibitors as putative drugs against cancer.

The project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie Action Innovative Training Network (MSCA-ITN), grant agreement no. 859853.