Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

ANU scientists crack DNA replication mystery

03.07.2006
A team of scientists led by Professor Nick Dixon at the Research School of Chemistry at The Australian National University have cracked one of the great DNA mysteries. For more than 20 years scientists have tried in vain to understand the last step in the copying of DNA in cells that are about to divide.

The research findings were published in the prestigious international journal Cell this morning.

In all cells, DNA is copied by a large molecular machine called the replisome. The replisome does two things: it pulls the two DNA strands apart, and then it makes copies of both of the strands at the same time. "You can think of the strand separation part like a snowplough. The replisome tracks along one of the DNA strands and pushes the other one off it," Professor Dixon said.

In certain bacteria, a small protein called TUS binds to the last part of DNA to be copied in a way that stops the replisome when it faces in one direction, but not in the other. How it can work this way has been a long standing puzzle.

The ANU team finally solved the important question of how TUS stops the replisome in this directional manner. "When the replisome comes along from one direction, separation of the two DNA strands simply knocks the TUS off as you'd expect. But when it comes from the other direction, the strand separation near TUS leads to one of the DNA bases flipping over and inserting itself like a key in a lock in a perfectly shaped pocket on the surface of TUS. TUS is locked onto the DNA and this stops the replisome snowplough in its tracks."

Professor Dixon said the discovery was important "not just because it solved a fundamental scientific question, but also because TUS was found to lock onto the DNA very strongly and in an entirely new way."

"Strong interactions like this have great potential to be used in bio- and nano-technology in fabricating new devices that might for example, be used for early detection of diseases," Professor Dixon said.

"This discovery illustrates once again how the quest for fundamental knowledge can result in unexpected technological progress."

Jane O'Dwyer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.researchaustralia.com.au

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space
26.04.2018 | American Institute of Physics

nachricht Multifunctional bacterial microswimmer able to deliver cargo and destroy itself
26.04.2018 | Max-Planck-Institut für Intelligente Systeme

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Why we need erasable MRI scans

New technology could allow an MRI contrast agent to 'blink off,' helping doctors diagnose disease

Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a widely used medical tool for taking pictures of the insides of our body. One way to make MRI scans easier to read is...

Im Focus: BAM@Hannover Messe: innovative 3D printing method for space flight

At the Hannover Messe 2018, the Bundesanstalt für Materialforschung und-prüfung (BAM) will show how, in the future, astronauts could produce their own tools or spare parts in zero gravity using 3D printing. This will reduce, weight and transport costs for space missions. Visitors can experience the innovative additive manufacturing process live at the fair.

Powder-based additive manufacturing in zero gravity is the name of the project in which a component is produced by applying metallic powder layers and then...

Im Focus: Molecules Brilliantly Illuminated

Physicists at the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics, which is jointly run by Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, have developed a high-power laser system that generates ultrashort pulses of light covering a large share of the mid-infrared spectrum. The researchers envisage a wide range of applications for the technology – in the early diagnosis of cancer, for instance.

Molecules are the building blocks of life. Like all other organisms, we are made of them. They control our biorhythm, and they can also reflect our state of...

Im Focus: Spider silk key to new bone-fixing composite

University of Connecticut researchers have created a biodegradable composite made of silk fibers that can be used to repair broken load-bearing bones without the complications sometimes presented by other materials.

Repairing major load-bearing bones such as those in the leg can be a long and uncomfortable process.

Im Focus: Writing and deleting magnets with lasers

Study published in the journal ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces is the outcome of an international effort that included teams from Dresden and Berlin in Germany, and the US.

Scientists at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) together with colleagues from the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin (HZB) and the University of Virginia...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Invitation to the upcoming "Current Topics in Bioinformatics: Big Data in Genomics and Medicine"

13.04.2018 | Event News

Unique scope of UV LED technologies and applications presented in Berlin: ICULTA-2018

12.04.2018 | Event News

IWOLIA: A conference bringing together German Industrie 4.0 and French Industrie du Futur

09.04.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

World's smallest optical implantable biodevice

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Molecular evolution: How the building blocks of life may form in space

26.04.2018 | Life Sciences

First Li-Fi-product with technology from Fraunhofer HHI launched in Japan

26.04.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>