University of Birmingham > Talks@bham > Molecular and Medical Physics Seminar Series > Mechanisms of interaction between ionizing radiation and life: the role of oxygen

Mechanisms of interaction between ionizing radiation and life: the role of oxygen

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Dan Kirby.

Preceded by tea, coffee and biscuits in the Poynting coffee lounge at 3.30pm

The process that we call life starts at the basic level with the activity of protein molecules. Single cell organsisms are the next level and mammals occupy the superior position. We have investigated the effect of ionising radiation on the actively functioning enzyme luciferase. As a result of that work the mechanism by which ionising radiation interferes with the enzymatic function has become clear. It is possible to give a quantitive account of the response of the catalytic activity of luciferase to ionising radiation. On the basis of these results the response of bioluminescent bacteria to radiation, a study that had been in scientific literature for many years, can be interpreted and its mechanism understood. Mammalian organisms on the other hand show ten times greater sensitivity to radiation dose than protozoa. We can hypothesise what mechanism may be responsible for that. The role of oxygen, which turns out to be highly radiosensitive, may have to be examined.

This talk is part of the Molecular and Medical Physics Seminar Series series.

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