HOME >> BIOLOGY >> NEWS
Penn researcher shows that DNA gets kinky easily at the nanoscale

PHILADELPHIA Scientists have answered a long-standing molecular stumper regarding DNA: How can parts of such a rigid molecule bend and coil without requiring large amounts of force? According to a team of researchers from the United States and the Netherlands, led by a physicist from the University of Pennsylvania, DNA is much more flexible than previously believed when examined over extremely small lengths. They used a technique called atomic force microscopy to determine the amount of energy necessary to bend DNA over nano-size lengths (about a million times smaller than a printed letter).

The findings, which appear in the November issue of the journal Nature Nanotechnology, illustrate how molecular properties often appear different when viewed at different degrees of magnification.

"DNA is not a passive molecule. It constantly needs to bend, forming loops and kinks, as other molecules interact with it," said Philip Nelson, a professor in Penn's Department of Physics and Astronomy in the School of Arts and Sciences. "But when people looked at long chunks of DNA, it always seemed to behave like a stiff elastic rod."

For example, DNA must wrap itself around proteins, forming tiny molecular structures called nucleosomes, which help regulate how genes are read. The formation of tight DNA loops also plays a key role in switching some genes off. According to Nelson, such processes were considered a minor mystery of nature, in part because researchers didn't have the tools of nanotechnology to examine molecules in such fine detail.

"Common sense and physics seemed to tell us that DNA just shouldn't spontaneously bend into such tight structures, yet it does," Nelson said. "In the conventional view of a DNA molecule, wrapping DNA into a nucleosome would be like bending a yardstick around a baseball."

To study DNA on the needed short length scales, Nelson and his colleagues used a technique called high-resolution atomic force micr
'"/>

Contact: Greg Lester
glester@pobox.upenn.edu
215-573-6604
University of Pennsylvania
3-Nov-2006


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:1/12/2017)... , January 12, 2017 A new report by Allied ... that the global biometric technology market is expected to generate revenue of $10.72 billion ... Continue Reading ... Allied Market Research ...      (Logo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20140911/647229) ...
(Date:1/11/2017)... , Jan. 11, 2017  Michael Johnson, co-founder of Visikol Inc. ... Group, Inc., has been named to the elite "Forbes 30 Under ... one of 600 people in 20 fields nationwide to be recognized ... the 15,000 applicants were selected. ... He is currently a PhD candidate at Rutgers University. ...
(Date:1/6/2017)...  SomaLogic announced today that it has agreed ... iCarbonX, the China -based company ... Health Ecosystem that can define each person,s ,digital ... behavioral and psychological data, the Internet and artificial ... will provide proteomics data and applications expertise to ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:1/13/2017)... ... January 13, 2017 , ... ... containing an organic compound called fulvic acid that farms, greenhouses and hydroponics operations ... grow cannabis are among the fastest growing segments of customers using this high ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... ... January 12, 2017 , ... ... IS A SUCCESS , VTI, Vertebral Technologies, Inc., announces the successful outcome ... expandable device. Since September 2016, VTI (Vertebral Technologies, Inc.) has partnered with ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... ... ... Huffman Engineering, Inc. , a leader in control systems integration, today announced ... as a chemical engineer. In his new role, Beck will use his extensive ... manufacturing and water/wastewater industries. , Prior to joining Huffman Engineering, Beck served for nine ...
(Date:1/12/2017)... 2017   Protein Sciences Corporation , a ... Flublok Influenza Vaccine ®, announced today that its ... safety results and induced strong neutralizing antibodies against ... is expected to advance into human clinical trials ... Institute of Technology in Immunobiologicals of the Oswaldo ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
Cached News: