Lorena S. Beese, Ph.D.
PHOTO CREDIT: Duke University Medical Center
Biochemists have performed detailed structural studies that reveal for the first time how an enzyme key to DNA replication stalls when an error occurs, to allow it to be corrected. Without such instantaneous braking, such mistakes in DNA replication would wreak havoc on DNA replication, killing the cell.
To their surprise, the scientists observed how the enzyme, DNA polymerase, retains a "short-term memory" of mismatches, in some cases halting itself past the point of the mismatch, so that the repair machinery can go to work. They also found that the mismatch structures differed dramatically from those deduced from previous indirect biochemical studies.
In an article in the March 19, 2004, issue of the journal Cell, Duke University Medical Center biochemists Sean Johnson and Lorena Beese, Ph.D., described how they had conducted detailed structural analyses of DNA polymerase as it encountered each of the 12 possible kinds of mismatches possible in DNA replication.
Dennis Meredith | dukemed news
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