Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Molecular Typesetting: How Errors Are Corrected While Proteins Are Being Built

Date:
June 23, 2009
Source:
University of Leeds
Summary:
Researchers have developed a model of how errors are corrected whilst proteins are being built.

Researchers at the Universities of Leeds and Bristol have developed a model of how errors are corrected whilst proteins are being built.

Ensuring that proteins are built correctly is essential to the proper functioning of our bodies, but the ‘quality assurance’ mechanisms that take place during this manufacturing process are not fully understood.

“Scientists have been puzzled as to how this process makes so few mistakes”, says Dr Netta Cohen, Reader at the University of Leeds’ School of Computing.

To create a protein, the first step involves copying the relevant gene on our DNA onto a template, called RNA. This copying process is carried out by molecular machines called RNA polymerases.

“The RNA polymerase acts like an old fashioned newsprint typesetter, constructing newsprint by assembling letters one at a time. Similarly, RNA polymerase constructs RNA by reading the DNA and adding new letters to the RNA one at a time,” explains Dr Cohen.

There’s no way for the RNA polymerase to ensure that the correct letter is always incorporated at the right spot. “Statistically, we would expect to see a hundred-fold more errors than we actually do, so we know that some error correction must be happening. Otherwise, many more proteins in our bodies would malfunction,” says Dr Cohen.

Biological experiments have shown that the RNA polymerase slides both forwards and backwards along the RNA sequence it has created. What’s more, it has miniature scissors that can then cut out the last few letters of RNA.

So how are errors corrected? Intelligent typesetters would remove the last few letters when they spot an error. The new model suggests how the backward sliding stalls when passing an error, so wrong letters can be snipped off and copying can resume.

“The mechanism we’ve modelled has only recently been shown to be implicated in proofreading,” says Dr Cohen. “In fact, there is more than one identified mechanism for ensuring that genetic code is copied correctly. The challenge now is to find out – through a combination of experimental biology and modelling – which mechanism is dominant.”


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Backtracking and proofreading in DNA transcription. Physical Review Letters, 102, 258101 (2009)

Cite This Page:

University of Leeds. "Molecular Typesetting: How Errors Are Corrected While Proteins Are Being Built." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 June 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090623090157.htm>.
University of Leeds. (2009, June 23). Molecular Typesetting: How Errors Are Corrected While Proteins Are Being Built. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090623090157.htm
University of Leeds. "Molecular Typesetting: How Errors Are Corrected While Proteins Are Being Built." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/06/090623090157.htm (accessed July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

Concern Grows Over Worsening Ebola Crisis

AFP (July 30, 2014) Pan-African airline ASKY has suspended all flights to and from the capitals of Liberia and Sierra Leone amid the worsening Ebola health crisis, which has so far caused 672 deaths in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Duration: 00:43 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

At Least 20 Chikungunya Cases in New Jersey

AP (July 30, 2014) At least 20 New Jersey residents have tested positive for chikungunya, a mosquito-borne virus that has spread through the Caribbean. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

Raw: Otters Enjoy Water Slides at Japan Zoo

AP (July 30, 2014) River otters were hitting the water slides to beat the summer heatwave on Wednesday at Ichikawa City's Zoological and Botanical Garden. (July 30) 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