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:5/6/2017)... -- RAM Group , Singaporean based technology ... biometric authentication based on a novel  quantum-state ... perform biometric authentication. These new sensors are based on a ... Group and its partners. This sensor will have widespread ... security. Ram Group is a next generation sensor ...
(Date:4/19/2017)... , April 19, 2017 ... its vendor landscape is marked by the presence of ... is however held by five major players - 3M ... these companies accounted for nearly 61% of the global ... leading companies in the global military biometrics market boast ...
(Date:4/17/2017)... MELBOURNE, Florida , April 17, 2017 ... security technology company, announces the filing of its 2016 Annual Report ... Securities and Exchange Commission. ... Report on Form 10-K is available in the Investor Relations section ... well as on the SEC,s website at http://www.sec.gov . ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... DALLAS , Oct. 10, 2017 International research firm ... IoT Strategy, will speak at the TMA 2017 Annual Meeting , ... key trends in the residential home security market and how smart safety ... ... "The ...
(Date:10/10/2017)... ... October 10, 2017 , ... USDM ... firm for the life sciences and healthcare industries, announces a presentation by Subbu ... , The presentation, “Automating GxP Validation for Agile Cloud Platforms,” will present a ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... DIEGO , Oct. 9, 2017  BioTech ... biological mechanism by which its ProCell stem cell ... critical limb ischemia.  The Company, demonstrated that treatment ... amount of limbs saved as compared to standard ... the molecule HGF resulted in reduction of therapeutic ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... , ... October 09, 2017 , ... At its national ... Christopher Stubbs, a professor in Harvard University’s Departments of Physics and Astronomy, has been ... a member of the winning team for the 2015 Breakthrough Prize in Fundamental physics ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: