Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Kinks, Bends & Repairs: DNA-Bending Protein Studied

31.05.2012
DNA, deoxyribonucleic acid, forms a blueprint of life represented by billions of chemical "base-pairs." But mismatch just one of these complementary pairs, and the genetic code gets altered. While certain proteins can diffuse along DNA strands to search for damaged sites, how they find them -- and how quickly -- remain unanswered questions.

University of Illinois at Chicago physics professor Anjum Ansari hopes to find some answers, supported by a new five-year, $1.14 million National Science Foundation grant.

Ansari and her UIC laboratory team are studying two classes of DNA-bending proteins. One is a "damage recognition" protein that recognizes a mismatched base-pair, binds to that site, and then signals for helper proteins to gather and aid in the repair. The other protein is an enzyme that targets invader DNA, cutting it apart.

Ansari is collaborating with other researchers at UIC, University of Pittsburgh, Wesleyan University and Arizona State University to study different aspects of these proteins.

Ansari's lab is one of only a few equipped to monitor the dynamics of DNA bending in complex with these proteins on timescales ranging from several milliseconds down to as fast hundreds of nanoseconds -- or less than one-millionth of a second.

The instruments in her lab are designed to look at macromolecules as they change their shapes within this time window -- "which is precisely the time window in which proteins recognize their specific binding sites," she said.

Researchers have made measurements at the longer timescales on which proteins diffuse along DNA in search of target sites Ansari said, "but not much is known about the timescale of the recognition process, for virtually any protein."

Her lab's experiments "are designed to make time-resolved measurements of how a protein, when it reaches its target site, transforms the DNA from a conformation in which it is straight to one which is kinked and bent," Ansari said, and to "learn about the recognition mechanism by watching the dynamics -- or time scales -- on which this happens."

Many other biophysical questions about this protein-DNA interaction will be investigated by the team, including the presence of subtle kinks in DNA structure at the damage sites in the absence of a bound protein.

"Clearly, the kinked conformation of the DNA facilitates the [protein's] recognition that something is wrong at the site," Ansari said. "The question we're addressing is, 'Is it the protein that bends and kinks the DNA when it reaches that site?' Or does the DNA, on its own, have a propensity to adopt these locally bent conformations because there's a mismatch -- and the protein, when it is moving along on the DNA, recognizes that something is not right at certain spots?"

DNA gets damaged in various ways -- sometimes during replication, sometimes by ultraviolet radiation, and sometimes through more subtle cellular processes. Damaged DNA can lead to serious diseases, so a better understanding of how proteins make repairs can help when designing new and better therapies.

Ansari will incorporate some aspects of her research in undergraduate physics labs that she plans to develop as part of a new biophysics curriculum at UIC.

Paul Francuch | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.uic.edu

Further reports about: Bends DNA-Bending Kinks Protein Repairs UIC cellular process serious disease

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed
18.01.2017 | American Chemical Society

nachricht 127 at one blow...
18.01.2017 | Stiftung Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Leibniz-Institut für Biodiversität der Tiere

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A big nano boost for solar cells

18.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Glass's off-kilter harmonies

18.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Toward a 'smart' patch that automatically delivers insulin when needed

18.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>