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Researchers find about DNA replication

To prepare a cell for cell division a cell needs to replicate the DNA they contain. The research was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Researchers from TU Delft, collaborating with investigators from the Francis Crick Institute in London, have found that the protein building blocks involved in the initial steps of replication of DNA. They are mobile but reduce their speed at specific sequences on the genome. These findings were facilitated using an integrated approach involving biophysics and biochemistry that will propel new discoveries in the field.

DNA replication is important for life. We copy a light-year’s length of  over our lifetimes. This copying must be carried out accurately by a molecular machine consisting of protein components. The control of the protein components is achieved in the watery environment of the cell.

To study the replication of the researchers used the first part of the replication machinery built up from its individual components on a single molecule of held in place using optical tweezers. By attaching fluorescent labels to the proteins of interest, the researchers could then reveal their movement on the DNA.

Researchers established the protein that sets into motion the building of the replication machinery is a mobile protein that diffuses along with the DNA. The motion is brought to a halt at particular sequences that the origin recognition complex was previously established to have a high affinity for. This reduction of origin recognition complex mobility at these sequences then facilitates the assembly of additional components of the replication machinery at these locations on the DNA.

They also found that the key motor component of the replication machinery can stably associate with the not only in its canonical double hexameric form, but also in a hitherto unknown single hexameric form uncoupled from ORC that displays significant mobility.The first author of the work said the researchers are in the beginning Stage of the molecular journey.

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