Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Important new model shows how proteins find the right DNA sequences

17.03.2009
Researchers at Uppsala University and Harvard University have collaboratively developed a new theoretical model to explain how proteins can rapidly find specific DNA sequences, even though there are many obstacles in the way on the chromosomes. The findings are being published today in the scientific journal Nature Physics.

In living cells, DNA-binding proteins regulate the activity of various genes so that different cells carry out the right tasks at the right time. For this to work, the DNA-binding proteins need to find the right DNA site sufficiently quickly.

The research team behind the new study has previously succeeded in determining that it takes only a few minutes for an individual protein molecule to look through the millions of nearly identical binding alternatives and find the right place to bind.

This is nevertheless slower than what is predicted by the established theoretical model for how DNA-binding proteins find their way to the proper place by alternating between diffusing in the cell cytoplasm and along DNA strands.

"By also taking into consideration the fact that there are many obstacles in the way when proteins are to diffuse along DNA strands, we can now calculate more exactly how long it takes them to find their way," says Johan Elf, associate professor of molecular biotechnology at the Center for Bioinformatics.

Besides offering a more precise prediction regarding the time needed to find the right site on DNA, the new theoretical model explains why there is an optimal total concentration of DNA-binding proteins. If there were more, it would simply be impossible for them to find a binding place in a reasonable time, since the proteins would be in each other's way. If there were fewer it would go slower as well, since not enough proteins would be searching. Finally, the new model provides an explanation why so many DNA-binding proteins also bind auxiliary binding sites close to the regulatory site, thus forming DNA loops. It turns out that this can shorten the time to find the right sites.

"This more detailed understanding of gene regulation is important, since it can ultimately provide a better understanding of diseases that occur as a result of problems in the control functions of cells, such as in cancer" says Johan Elf.

Johan Elf | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.uu.se

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New technique unveils 'matrix' inside tissues and tumors
29.06.2017 | University of Copenhagen The Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences

nachricht Designed proteins to treat muscular dystrophy
29.06.2017 | Universität Basel

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Making Waves

Computer scientists use wave packet theory to develop realistic, detailed water wave simulations in real time. Their results will be presented at this year’s SIGGRAPH conference.

Think about the last time you were at a lake, river, or the ocean. Remember the ripples of the water, the waves crashing against the rocks, the wake following...

Im Focus: Can we see monkeys from space? Emerging technologies to map biodiversity

An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.

Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Nanostructures taste the rainbow

29.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

New technique unveils 'matrix' inside tissues and tumors

29.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Cystic fibrosis alters the structure of mucus in airways

29.06.2017 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>