Berkeley Lab Researchers Get a Detailed Look at a DNA Repair Protein in Action (http://newscenter.lbl.gov/feature-stories/2013/10/23/muts-dna-repair-protein-in-action/)
Provides New Insight into Genome Integrity and Biological Detection of Mismatched DNA
Errors in the human genetic code that arise from mismatched nucleotide base pairs in the DNA double helix can lead to cancer and other disorders. In microbes, such errors provide the basis for adaption to environmental stress. As one of the first responders to these genetic errors, a small protein called MutS - for "Mutator S" - controls the integrity of genomes across a wide range of organisms, from microbes to humans. Understanding the repair process holds importance for an equally impressive range of applications, including synthetic biology, microbial adaption and pathogenesis.
A new and detailed look at the role of MutS in DNA's mismatch repair (MMR) system has been provided by a team of researchers with the U.
"Our technique of employing SAXS with gold nanolabels allows us to examine DNA processing by cooperative enzymes in which solution conditions, long distances, low concentrations, substoichiometric populations, and short time-scales are of importance," says
Hura is the lead author of a paper describing this research in the Proceedings of the
"It is a common belief that DNA is a passive component in protein interactions that involve DNA metabolism, but many proteins actually make use of DNA structural features, such as rigidity and conformation for important biological processes," Tainer says. "The view of DNA as a passive element is at least in part due to a paucity of robust tools for examining dynamic DNA conformational states during multistep reactions."
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