UPMC Hillman Cancer Center

Kara Bernstein, PhD

Kara Bernstein
Associate Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics


Contact Information

Contact Information

5117 Centre Avenue
UPCI Research Pavilion Lab G.1
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

Phone: 412-623-3227
Email: bernsteink@upmc.edu
Fax: 412-623-1010

Administrative Assistant
Name: Michael Lawton
Phone: 412-623-1012
Email: lawtonm@upmc.edu
Fax: 412-623-1010

Research Keywords

Research Keywords

DNA repair; DNA recombination; double-strand break repair; gross chromosomal rearrangements; RecQ DNA helicases; Rad51 paralogues

Research Summary

Research Summary

DNA contains the genetic instructions that are used to make all the proteins in a cell. Accumulation of changes in the DNA, known as mutations, can arise during cancer and may even be a cause of cancer. When DNA is not accurately repaired, chromosomes, which are composed of DNA, can rearrange leading to alterations in chromosome number, structure, and over-all integrity. These types of chromosomal variations are hallmarks of tumor cells. Our goal is to understand how DNA rearranges during cancer and why mutations in genes that repair broken DNA lead to these chromosomal alterations. Our lab has been focusing on the role of the RecQ proteins and its interacting partners during DNA repair. Mutations in these highly conserved proteins can lead to cancer predisposition and/or premature aging syndromes in humans (Bloom, Werner, or Rothmund Thompson syndromes). We believe that the RecQ proteins are critical for accurate repair of DNA damage to prevent DNA rearrangements and we seek to understand the underlying mechanism of how these proteins function during DNA repair.

Selected Publications

Selected Publications

  • Bernstein, K.A., Mimitou, E.P., Mihalevic, M.J., Chen, H., Sunjaveric, I., Symington, L.S., Rothstein R. (2013) Resection activity of the Sgs1 helicase alters the affinity of DNA ends for homologous recombination proteins in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Genetics, In press. PubMed Link
  • Bernstein, K.A., Juanchich, A., Sunjevaric, I., Rothstein, R. (2013) The Shu complex regulates Rad52 localization during rDNA repair, DNA Repair, 12(9): 786-790. PubMed Link
  • Godin, S., Wier, A., Kabbinavar, F., Bratton-Palmer, D.S., Ghodke, H., Van Houten, B., VanDemark, A.P., and Bernstein, K.A. (2013) The Shu complex interacts with Rad51 through the Rad51 paralogues Rad55-Rad57 to mediate error-free recombination. Nucleic Acids Research, 41(8): 4525-4534. PubMed Link
  • Karpenshif, Y. and Bernstein, K.A. (2012) From yeast to mammals: recent advances in genetic control of homologous recombination. DNA Repair, 11(10): 781-788. PubMed Link
  • Robert, R., Vanoli, F., Chiolo, I., Shubassi, G., Bernstein, K.A., Rothstein, R., Botrugno, O.A., Parazzoli, D., Oldani, A., Miunuccci, S., Foiani, M. (2011) HDACs link the DNA damage response, processing of double-strand breaks and autophagy. Nature, 471(7336): 74-79. PubMed Link
  • Bernstein, K.A., Reid, R.J., Sunjevaric, I., Burgess, R.C., Demuth, K., and Rothstein, R. (2011) The Shu complex, which contains Rad51 paralogues, promotes DNA repair through inhibition of the Srs2 anti-recombinase. Molecular Biology of the Cell, 22(9): 1599-1607. PubMed Link
  • Bernstein, K.A., Gangloff, S., and Rothstein, R. (2010) The Role of the RecQ Helicases in DNA repair. Annual Review of Genetics, 44: 393-417. PubMed Link
  • Bernstein, K.A. and Rothstein, R., (2009) At loose ends: Resecting a double strand break. Cell, 137(5): 807-810. PubMed Link
  • Bernstein, K.A., Shor, E., Sunjevaric, I., Burgess, RC., Fumasoni, M., Foiani, M., Branzei, D., Rothstein R. (2009) The role of the Sgs1 helicase in DNA replication is separate from its role in recombinational repair. EMBO Journal. 28(7): 915-925. PubMed Link
  • Bernstein, K.A., Bean J., Cross, F.R., and Baserga, S.J. (2007) Ribosome biogenesis directly promotes passage at Start through Whi5, the yeast homologue of Rb. Molecular Biology of the Cell. 18(3):953-964. PubMed Link

See all pubs (Pubmed)

Collaborations

Collaborations

Current Internal Collaborators

Nathan Clark, PhD
Assistant Professor of Computational and Systems Biology

Li Lan, MD, PhD
Assistant Professor of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics
Member - Molecular and Cellular Cancer Biology Program (MCCBP)

Bennett Van Houten, PhD
Professor of Pharmacology & Chemical Biology
Co-Leader - Molecular and Cellular Cancer Biology Program (MCCBP)

Andrew VanDemark, PhD
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences

Current External Collaborators

Michael Resnick, PhD
Senior Investigator
NIEHS

Rodney Rothstein, PhD
Professor of Genetics and Development
Columbia University

Patrick Sung, PhD
Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and of Therapeutic Radiology
Yale University

Lorraine Symington, PhD
Harold S. Ginsberg Professor of Microbiology and Immunology
Columbia University

Affiliated Graduate Programs

Affiliated Graduate Programs

  • Molecular Genetics & Developmental Biology

Department Website

Lab Website









Last modified: 8/7/17