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Title:A nanoscopic glimpse of the cells drafting table
Author(s):Maffeo, Christopher
Abstract:A blueprint for life is contained within the cells of every living organism in the form of DNA molecules. Most of us think about DNA in terms of phenotypes such as brown or blue eyes. However, on the cellular level, specialized molecular machinery operate on DNA to create proteins, repair deadly errors in the genetic code, and replicate the genome. The familiar DNA double-helix is split into its constituent strands during these processes so that the genetic code may be read. Single-stranded DNA binding protein(SSB; depicted in orange) is omnipresent during the processes of DNA replication and repair, where it binds excess single-stranded DNA very tightly to prevent double-stranded DNA from forming. We constructed a coarse-grained model of DNA (bottom right; large beads) and SSB that captures the behavior of all-atom DNA (top left; small spheres). The new model extends the timescale amenable to simulation thousands of times. Existing evidence demonstrated that SSB could wrap DNA in two or three ways,but our simulations revealed at least six distinct yet dynamic wrapping patterns, one of which is depicted. This work represents a step towards our larger goal of constructing a complete model of the DNA replication machinery.
Issue Date:2014-05
Rights Information:Copyright 2014 Christopher Maffeo
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-05-14

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