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)... , June 22, 2016  The American College of ... Trade Show Executive Magazine as one of the fastest-growing ... May 25-27 at the Bellagio in Las Vegas ... the highest percentage of growth in each of the following ... exhibiting companies and number of attendees. The 2015 ACMG Annual ...
(Date:6/16/2016)... FRANCISCO , June 16, 2016 ... size is expected to reach USD 1.83 ... by Grand View Research, Inc. Technological proliferation and ... banking applications are expected to drive the market ... ) , The development of advanced ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... , June 3, 2016 ... Management) von Nepal ... und Lieferung hochsicherer geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, ... führend in der Produktion und Implementierung von ... der Ausschreibung im Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/2/2016)... ... December 02, 2016 , ... Robots will storm the ... on December 3rd, 2016. The event, which is held on the United Nations International ... Americans with Disabilities back into the workplace. Suitable Technologies is partnering with NTI to ...
(Date:12/2/2016)... a world leader in rapid infectious disease tests, introduced the Company,s newest product, the ... (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161201/444905 ) Continue Reading ... ... , , bioLytical was invited by the ... INSTI HIV Self Test to 350 pharmacy representatives in Nairobi ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... 2016 The global Pyrogen Testing ... a dominant share in the overall market. The leading ... and Merck KGaA, held a lion,s share of 51% ... observes that these companies are expected to retain their ... are do not require rabbit pyrogen testing along with ...
(Date:11/30/2016)...  The Allen Institute for Cell Science has ... available collection of gene edited, fluorescently tagged human ... structures with unprecedented clarity. Distributed through the Coriell ... a crucial first step toward visualizing the dynamic ... human cells healthy and what goes wrong in ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: