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.

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 July 23, 2014 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 July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
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:
from the past week

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