[ExI] Video shows real enzyme-DNA interaction
thespike at satx.rr.com
Tue Sep 18 22:07:37 UTC 2007
[vid link on the site above]
Video shows real enzyme-DNA interaction
Tuesday, 18 September 2007
SYDNEY: For the first time, scientists have
captured remarkable footage of the nanoscale
interaction of an enzyme and a strand of DNA.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge in
the U.K. used an incredibly high resolution
scanning atomic force microscope to produce
footage of the protective enzyme of a bacterial
host unravelling the DNA of an attacking virus.
"This is the first time that such a process has
been seen in real time. To be able see these
nano-mechanisms as they are really happening is
incredibly exciting," said Robert Henderson, lead
researcher behind the feat. "We can actually see
the enzyme 'threading' through a loop in the
virus's DNA in order to lock on to and break it,
a process known as DNA cleavage."
The DNA in the video is one nanometre wide; that
is approximately one million times narrower than the head of a pin.
Working with an international team, the
University of Cambridge team used the
state-of-the-art microscope housed at a Japanese
institute one of only three in the world and
a technique called 'fast scan' atomic force
microscopy. Before now, researchers could only
make assumptions as to how proteins and DNA
interacted based on indirect evidence, but this
technique gives them a new window on a fundamental biological process.
"Standard technology for filming on this scale
can only produce one image frame every 8
minutes," said Henderson. "However, our new work
allows one frame per 500, or fewer, milliseconds."
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