DNA "Propellers" to Study How DNA and Proteins Interact

July 31, 2019
drawing of DNA "propeller"

Courtesy of the Pallav Kosuri/Zhuang Lab

For decades, researchers have chased ways to study how biological machines power living things. Every mechanical movement — from contracting a muscle to replicating DNA — relies on energy-fueled molecular motors that take tiny, near-undetectable steps. Trying to see these movements is like trying to watch a soccer game on the moon from Earth.

Now, in a recent study published in Nature, a team of researchers including Xiaowei Zhuang, the David B. Arnold Jr. Professor of Science; [Professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology and Professor of Physics] at Harvard University and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute Investigator, Pallav Kosuri, a postdoctoral scholar in chemistry and chemical biology in the Zhuang lab, and Benjamin Altheimer, a Ph.D. student in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, captured the first recorded rotational steps of a molecular motor as it moved from one DNA base pair to another...

Continue reading "DNA helicopters offer insight into how biological machines power living things" by Caitlyn McDermott-Murphy, Harvard Gazette, July 19, 2019. https://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2019/07/harvard-researchers-create-dna-propellers/.