Tuesday, February 1, 2011

DNA Caught Rock 'N Rollin': On Rare Occasions DNA Dances Itself Into a Different Shape

"DNA, that marvelous, twisty molecule of life, has an alter ego, research at the University of Michigan and the University of California, Irvine reveals.

On rare occasions, its building blocks "rock and roll," deforming the familiar double helix into a different shape.

"We show that the simple DNA double helix exists in an alternative form -- for one percent of the time -- and that this alternative form is functional," said Hashim M. Al-Hashimi, who is the Robert L. Kuczkowski Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Biophysics at U-M. "Together, these data suggest that there are multiple layers of information stored in the genetic code." The findings were published online Jan. 26 in the journal Nature."

Called a Hoogsteen base pair, the re-formed bases are actually flipped 180 degrees within the double helix, making them able to flip back. This was previously linked to damaged DNA or when it is "bound to proteins or drugs."

Click here for the article...

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