Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

New calculations solve an old problem with DNA

Date:
December 21, 2012
Source:
Université du Luxembourg
Summary:
Normal DNA will switch to left-handed DNA when it is physically twisted, or when a lot of salt is added to the solution. Researchers were able to accurately calculate for the first time the amount of salt which is required to do this. Z-DNA in the cell leads to loss of function and cancer.

The normal (B-form) DNA will switch to left-handed (Z-form) DNA when it is physically twisted, or when a lot of salt is added to the solution. Researchers at the University of Luxembourg were able to accurately calculate for the first time the amount of salt which is required to do this. Z-DNA in the cell leads to loss of function and cancer.
Credit: Image courtesy of Université du Luxembourg

The normal DNA will switch to left-handed DNA when it is physically twisted, or when a lot of salt is added to the solution. Researchers at the University of Luxembourg were able to accurately calculate for the first time the amount of salt which is required to do this. Z-DNA in the cell leads to loss of function and cancer.

In a recent publication, researchers achieved new accuracy in the ability to measure energy differences between states of molecules, thus predicting which states will be observed.

It has been known since the seventies that excessive salt causes DNA to reverse its twist, from a right-handed spiral to a left-handed one. DNA in the Z form is treated by our natural repair enzymes as damaged, and is therefore usually deleted from the cell. Deletion of genetic material can lead to cancer or to other problems, so the B-Z transition is no mere curiosity. However such is the complexity of the DNA molecule that a theoretical explanation which correctly predicts the amount of salt to do this has never before been found.

Dr. Josh Berryman and Professor Tanja Schilling of the University of Luxembourg have now been able to find a method of calculation which predicts this transition with unprecedented accuracy. With this success in describing the most enigmatic of molecules, the team is optimistic that they will be able to perform similar mathematical analyses for a variety of other substances. "It will enable us to predict material properties such as melting temperatures or elasticity. And this will be done with high accuracy using our new technique. Hence, we can now design new materials and biomaterials on the computer more effectively than before," said Prof. Schilling.

Prof Schilling and Dr Berryman are physicists at the University's Physics and Material Sciences Research Unit, which comprises a team of 50 researchers.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Joshua T. Berryman, Tanja Schilling. Free Energies by Thermodynamic Integration Relative to an Exact Solution, Used to Find the Handedness-Switching Salt Concentration for DNA. Journal of Chemical Theory and Computation, 2012; 121130085236003 DOI: 10.1021/ct3005968

Cite This Page:

Université du Luxembourg. "New calculations solve an old problem with DNA." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 December 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121221091347.htm>.
Université du Luxembourg. (2012, December 21). New calculations solve an old problem with DNA. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 30, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121221091347.htm
Université du Luxembourg. "New calculations solve an old problem with DNA." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/12/121221091347.htm (accessed September 30, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

How 'Yes Means Yes' Defines Sexual Assault

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Aimed at reducing sexual assaults on college campuses, California has adopted a new law changing the standard of consent for sexual activity. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Scientists May Have Found An Early Sign Of Pancreatic Cancer

Newsy (Sep. 29, 2014) — Researchers looked at 1,500 blood samples and determined people who developed pancreatic cancer had more branched chain amino acids. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

Colo. Doctors See Cluster of Enterovirus Cases

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

Dr.'s Unsure of Cause of Fast-Spreading Virus

AP (Sep. 29, 2014) — Doctors at the Children's Hospital of Colorado say they have treated over 4,000 children with serious respiratory illnesses since August. Nine of the patients have shown distinct neurological symptoms, including limb weakness. (Sept. 29) 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:

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