Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

How Proteins Find The Right DNA Sequences

Date:
March 23, 2009
Source:
Uppsala University
Summary:
Researchers have developed a new theoretical model to explain how proteins can rapidly find specific DNA sequences, even though there are many obstacles in the way on the chromosomes.

Illustration of how proteins find the right DNA sequences.
Credit: Image courtesy of Uppsala University

Researchers at Uppsala University and Harvard University have collaboratively developed a new theoretical model to explain how proteins can rapidly find specific DNA sequences, even though there are many obstacles in the way on the chromosomes.

In living cells, DNA-binding proteins regulate the activity of various genes so that different cells carry out the right tasks at the right time. For this to work, the DNA-binding proteins need to find the right DNA site sufficiently quickly. The research team behind the new study has previously succeeded in determining that it takes only a few minutes for an individual protein molecule to look through the millions of nearly identical binding alternatives and find the right place to bind. This is nevertheless slower than what is predicted by the established theoretical model for how DNA-binding proteins find their way to the proper place by alternating between diffusing in the cell cytoplasm and along DNA strands.

"By also taking into consideration the fact that there are many obstacles in the way when proteins are to diffuse along DNA strands, we can now calculate more exactly how long it takes them to find their way," says Johan Elf, associate professor of molecular biotechnology at the Center for Bioinformatics.

Besides offering a more precise prediction regarding the time needed to find the right site on DNA, the new theoretical model explains why there is an optimal total concentration of DNA-binding proteins. If there were more, it would simply be impossible for them to find a binding place in a reasonable time, since the proteins would be in each other's way. If there were fewer it would go slower as well, since not enough proteins would be searching. Finally, the new model provides an explanation why so many DNA-binding proteins also bind auxiliary binding sites close to the regulatory site, thus forming DNA loops. It turns out that this can shorten the time to find the right sites.

"This more detailed understanding of gene regulation is important, since it can ultimately provide a better understanding of diseases that occur as a result of problems in the control functions of cells, such as in cancer" says Johan Elf.

The researchers behind the study are Gene-Wei Li, Otto G. Berg, and Johan Elf. The findings are being published March 16 in the scientific journal Nature Physics.


Story Source:

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


Cite This Page:

Uppsala University. "How Proteins Find The Right DNA Sequences." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 March 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316092008.htm>.
Uppsala University. (2009, March 23). How Proteins Find The Right DNA Sequences. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316092008.htm
Uppsala University. "How Proteins Find The Right DNA Sequences." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/03/090316092008.htm (accessed August 23, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Drug Used To Treat 'Ebola's Cousin' Shows Promise

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) An experimental drug used to treat Marburg virus in rhesus monkeys could give new insight into a similar treatment for Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

Two US Ebola Patients Leave Hospital Free of the Disease

AFP (Aug. 21, 2014) Two American missionaries who were sickened with Ebola while working in Liberia and were treated with an experimental drug are doing better and have left the hospital, doctors say on August 21, 2014. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

Cadavers, a Teen, and a Medical School Dream

AP (Aug. 21, 2014) Contains graphic content. He's only 17. But Johntrell Bowles has wanted to be a doctor from a young age, despite the odds against him. He was recently the youngest participant in a cadaver program at the Indiana University NW medical school. (Aug. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

American Ebola Patients Released: What Cured Them?

Newsy (Aug. 21, 2014) It's unclear whether the American Ebola patients' recoveries can be attributed to an experimental drug or early detection and good medical care. Video provided by Newsy
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