A Rensselaer researcher has developed a new tool to help unravel the function of an elusive DNA structure. The findings, which were presented today at the 230th national meeting of the American Chemical Society (ACS) in Washington, D.C., could lead to a better understanding of diseases such as cancer and diabetes.
The standard version of the human genome is a double-stranded helix of complementary bases: adenine binds to thymine and cytosine binds to guanine. "Our focus is on a different type of DNA structure, the G-quartet, that arises from hydrogen bonds between guanines only," says Linda McGown, professor and chair of the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.
Scientists have long speculated about the existence of these G-quartets, as well as the role they might play in the human body, but direct evidence has remained elusive. To help answer these questions, McGown and her students at Rensselaer and Duke University have been examining this unusual structure, which is a rectangular array of four guanines, each hydrogen-bonded to its two nearest neighbors.
Jason Gorss | EurekAlert!
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