Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Study Reveals Enzyme That Behaves Like A "Quantum Inchworm"

Date:
May 19, 2000
Source:
University Of California, Davis
Summary:
Little is known about the actions of the tiny, critically important machines that maintain DNA, the chemical code coiled inside all living cells. Now UC Davis researchers have peered under the hood of one such machine to reveal new details about the workings of these essential housekeepers.

Little is known about the actions of the tiny, critically important machines that maintain DNA, the chemical code coiled inside all living cells. Now UC Davis researchers have peered under the hood of one such machine to reveal new details about the workings of these essential housekeepers.

Related Articles


RecBC is an enzyme that works inside the E. coli bacterium. This nanomachine, one one-billionth of a meter in size, is a molecular motor. It moves along DNA, separating the two sides of the ladder-shaped DNA so that its rungs can be repaired, their code can be read or they can be paired with another DNA partner.

Most DNA investigators expected that RecBC would move along one to five rungs, or nucleotides, at a time -- a respectable step size for enzymes. But in Thursday's issue of the journal Nature, microbiologists Stephen Kowalczykowski and Piero Bianco report that RecBC has the longest stride yet seen. It is an enzymatic Paul Bunyan, striding ahead 23 rungs every advance.

That kind of workout burns a lot of fuel, and the new finding will require researchers to think differently about how such enzymes use cellular energy sources.

The researchers also found that RecBC has a unique gait. Its front end completes its 23-rung advance, anchors itself to the DNA, and then pulls its back end forward, separating the DNA behind it in a plowlike fashion. Because of this novel mechanism, the researchers dubbed RecBC the "quantum inchworm."

"Overall, understanding this protein will further our understanding of how to maintain chromosomes and to correct genetic defects," said Kowalczykowski. On a smaller scale, literally, the new findings may help engineers who are trying to build nanomachines for jobs such as delivering new genes to DNA or drugs to specific genetic targets in cancer cells, he said.

The research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California, Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California, Davis. "Study Reveals Enzyme That Behaves Like A "Quantum Inchworm"." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 May 2000. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000519064939.htm>.
University Of California, Davis. (2000, May 19). Study Reveals Enzyme That Behaves Like A "Quantum Inchworm". ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 5, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000519064939.htm
University Of California, Davis. "Study Reveals Enzyme That Behaves Like A "Quantum Inchworm"." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2000/05/000519064939.htm (accessed March 5, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Health & Medicine News

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Adults Only Get The Flu Twice A Decade, Researchers Say

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) Researchers found adults only get the flu about once every five years. Scientists analyzed how a person&apos;s immunity builds up over time as well. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
New Hormone Could Protect Against Diabetes And Weight Gain

New Hormone Could Protect Against Diabetes And Weight Gain

Newsy (Mar. 4, 2015) A newly discovered hormone mimics the effects of exercise, protecting against diabetes and weight gain. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Mount Everest Has a Poop Problem

Mount Everest Has a Poop Problem

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) With no bathrooms to use, climbers of Mount Everest have been leaving human waste on the mountain for years, and it&apos;s becoming a health issue. Mike Janela (@mikejanela) has more. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Best Tips to 'Skinny' Your Home

The Best Tips to 'Skinny' Your Home

Buzz60 (Mar. 4, 2015) If you&apos;re looking to reach your health goals this season, there are a few simple tips to help you spring clean your space and improve your nutrition. Krystin Goodwin (@krystingoodwin) has the skinny on keeping a healthy home. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins