HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
CU researchers solve mystery of how DNA strands separate

Cornell researchers have answered a fundamental question about how two strands of DNA, known as a double helix, separate to start a process called replication, in which genes copy themselves.

The research, published in the current issue of the journal Cell, examined the role of an enzyme called a helicase, which plays a major role in separating DNA strands so that replication of a single strand can occur.

Scientists have known that helicases bind to the area of a double helix where the two strands fork away from each other, like the free ends of two pieces of thread wound around each other. The forked area opens and closes very rapidly. But scientists have debated whether helicases actively separate the two strands at the fork or if they passively wait for the fork to widen on its own.

The research found that the helicase appears to actively exert a force onto the fork and separate the two strands.

"A simple passive unwinding mechanism does not explain our data," said Michelle Wang, associate professor of physics and the paper's senior author.

"Defects in helicases are associated with many human diseases, ranging from predisposition to cancer to premature aging," said co-author Smita Patel, a biochemistry professor at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in Piscataway, N.J. "Helicases are involved in practically all DNA and RNA metabolic processes."

The researchers made their discovery by anchoring one end of one of the strands in a double helix to the surface of a microscope cover slip. The end of the other strand was attached to a micron-sized plastic bead. They then focused a laser beam on the tiny bead and trapped the bead in place within the beam of light. This setup allowed the researchers to measure the position and force on the bead, creating a very precise sensor of the helicase motion. As the helicase moved toward the fork and the double helix unwound, the tension on the two strands lessened. Using statistical mechanics m
'"/>

Contact: Blaine Friedlander
bpf2@cornell.edu
607-254-8093
Cornell University News Service
2-Jul-2007


Page: 1 2

Related biology news :

1. Innovative tagging technique may help researchers better protect fish stocks
2. Penn researchers discover how key protein stops inflammation
3. ASU researchers partner with UOP to make biofuel for military jets a reality
4. Einstein researchers prototype vaccine could provide improved protection against tuberculosis
5. Penn researchers discover pathway that eliminates genetic defects in red blood cells
6. U-M researchers find family of on switches that cause prostate cancer
7. 2007 EURYI: 20 young researchers to receive Nobel Prize-sized awards for breakthrough ideas
8. Pets could be source of multiresistant bacteria infections in humans, MU researchers investigate
9. MGH researchers confirm that bone marrow restores fertility in female mice
10. Smithsonians National Zoo researchers use electronic eggs to help save threatened species
11. U-M researchers identify gene involved in breast cancer

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:


(Date:6/22/2016)... WASHINGTON , June 22, 2016 On ... highly-anticipated call to industry to share solutions for the ... by U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), explains that ... nationals are departing the United States ... criminals, and to defeat imposters. Logo - ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint attendance control software, allowing ... are actually signing in, and to even control the opening of doors. ... ... ... Photo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20160609/377487 ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... , June 2, 2016   The Weather Company ... announcing Watson Ads, an industry-first capability in which consumers will ... being able to ask questions via voice or text and ... Marketers have long sought an ... consumer, that can be personal, relevant and valuable; and can ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Newly created 4Sight Medical ... to the healthcare market. The company's primary focus is on new product introductions, ... strategies that are necessary to help companies efficiently bring their products to market. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016 Epic Sciences unveiled a liquid ... to PARP inhibitors by targeting homologous recombination deficiency ... new test has already been incorporated into numerous ... types. Over 230 clinical trials are ... including PARP, ATM, ATR, DNA-PK and WEE-1. Drugs ...
(Date:6/23/2016)...   Boston Biomedical , an industry leader ... target cancer stemness pathways, announced that its lead ... Designation from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration ... gastroesophageal junction (GEJ) cancer. Napabucasin is an orally ... stemness pathways by targeting STAT3, and is currently ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... SANTA MONICA, Calif. , June 23, 2016  The Prostate Cancer ... to pioneer increasingly precise treatments and faster cures for prostate cancer. Members of ... 77 institutions across 15 countries. Read More About the ... ... ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: