"We can monitor the process directly, and that gives us a different perspective," said Roberto Galletto, a postdoctoral scholar at UC Davis and first author on a paper published Sept. 20 on the Web site of the journal Nature.
In E. coli bacteria, molecules of an enzyme called RecA attach themselves along a DNA strand, stretching it out and forming a filament. A piece of complementary DNA lines up along side it, and pieces of DNA can be swapped in to repair gaps in the original strand. A similar protein, called Rad51, does the same job in humans.
"How RecA and Rad51 assemble into filaments determines the outcome of DNA repair, but very little is known about how assembly is controlled," said senior author Stephen Kowalczykowski, professor in the sections of Microbiology and of Molecular and Cellular Biology and director of the Center for Genetics and Development at UC Davis. Genes that control the human gene, Rad51, have been linked to increased risk of breast cancer.
Galletto attached a short piece of DNA to a tiny latex bead and placed it in a flow chamber, held by laser beam "tweezers." Fluid flowing past made the DNA stream out like a banner. Then he nudged it into an adjacent channel containing fluorescently-tagged RecA. After short intervals of time, he moved it back to the first chamber to observe the results.
By repeatedly dipping the same piece of DNA into the fluorescent channel, the researchers could see the RecA form clusters of four to five molecules on the DNA. Once those clusters had formed, the DNA/RecA filament rapidly grew in both directions. The measurements made in those experiments will be the baseline for future studies of both RecA and Rad51, Kowalczykowski said.
The new work adapts an approach developed by Kowalczykowski and Ronald J. Baskin, professor of molecular and cellular biology, to study single enzymes at work unwinding DNA strands. That research was first published in Nature in 2001.
In addition to Galletto, Kowalczykowski and Baskin, the research team included postdoctoral scholar Ichiro Amitani. The work was funded by the National Institutes of Health and a fellowship awarded to Galletto by the Jeane B. Kempner Foundation.
Andy Fell | EurekAlert!
World’s Largest Study on Allergic Rhinitis Reveals new Risk Genes
17.07.2018 | Helmholtz Zentrum München - Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Gesundheit und Umwelt
Plant mothers talk to their embryos via the hormone auxin
17.07.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria
For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.
To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...
For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.
Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...
Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.
A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...
Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.
"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....
Ultra-short, high-intensity X-ray flashes open the door to the foundations of chemical reactions. Free-electron lasers generate these kinds of pulses, but there is a catch: the pulses vary in duration and energy. An international research team has now presented a solution: Using a ring of 16 detectors and a circularly polarized laser beam, they can determine both factors with attosecond accuracy.
Free-electron lasers (FELs) generate extremely short and intense X-ray flashes. Researchers can use these flashes to resolve structures with diameters on the...
13.07.2018 | Event News
12.07.2018 | Event News
03.07.2018 | Event News
17.07.2018 | Life Sciences
17.07.2018 | Information Technology
17.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering