One of the projects at the International Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology in Warsaw studies the mechanisms of DNA repair, the role of which is to prevent the distortion of genetic information. The DNA molecule, which encodes information about how each cell and the whole organism are built and function, undergoes chemical damage, either spontaneously or under the influence of external factors (radiation, carcinogens etc.). Staff members of the Institute’s Laboratory of Protein Structure use protein crystallography, which allows them to determine the three-dimensional architecture of molecules and further elucidate their mechanism of action. The Laboratory has discovered, for example, the way the UvrA protein detects various DNA lesions and initiates repair. Another achievement involved elucidating the mechanism of the RuvC enzyme, which participates in a repair pathway in which a damaged region of DNA is fixed using a correct copy thereof. The team also determined the first structures of another important DNA repair enzyme – Slx1.