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Scientists have decoded the “mechanical code” of DNA

Scientists have decoded the “mechanical code” of DNA

#Scientists #decoded #mechanical #code #DNA Welcome to Alaska Green Light Blog, here is the new story we have for you today:

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DNA function concept

The mechanical code of DNA refers to the physical properties of DNA that are important to its function as genetic material. These properties include the structure of the double helix, the stability of base pairing, and the elasticity and flexibility of the molecule. These properties allow DNA to store and transmit genetic information and are affected by various factors such as temperature, humidity and pH.

An international team of researchers led by Durham University in the UK have uncovered previously unknown ways in which nature encodes biological information in a DNA sequence by deciphering DNA’s mechanical code.

The team used a next-generation DNA sequencing technique they developed called Loop-seq to show that the specific sequence of bases along a stretch of DNA determines the local flexibility of the molecule.

Using a large number of measurements coupled with computer-aided analysis and machine learning, they determined the mechanical code, i.e. the assignment between the local sequence and the local deformability of the DNA.

In addition, the researchers found that the mechanical code of DNA can be modified through “methylation,” a well-known chemical modification that DNA bases routinely undergo at various stages of an organism’s development. Aberrant methylation has been linked to several types of cancer.

The discovery that methylation alters the mechanical code raises the possibility that biological development programs or diseases such as cancer may achieve some of their effects on cells by altering the information encoded by the mechanical code.

The research was carried out together with colleagues from Johns Hopkins University, USA, Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology, Spain and University of Barcelona, ​​​​Spain. It was published in the journal Nature Structural & Molecular Biology.

The lead author of the study, Dr. Aakash Basu of Durham University said: “DNA is a book of instructions that cells need to survive. But it’s a very special kind of book where your ability to turn a page, mend a tear in the page, or fold a page depends on the words written on the page. That’s because those words in the book of DNA somehow also control the mechanical properties of the paper.”

They point out that it is well known that reading, copying, packaging and repairing the genetic information stored in the sequence of bases (the As, Ts, Gs and Cs) along DNA routinely involves processes that require local mechanical deformations of the DNA.

The researchers provide evidence that in diverse organisms, from mammals to bacteria, nature and evolution have used the mechanical code to locally control DNA deformability and, in turn, control critical biological processes that require mechanical distortions of DNA .

The researchers expect that this knowledge will guide future therapeutic and biotechnical developments.

Reference: “Unlocking the Mechanical Code of the Genome and Epigenome” by Aakash Basu, Dmitriy G. Bobrovnikov, Basilio Cieza, Juan Pablo Arcon, Zan Qureshi, Modesto Orozco, and Taekjip Ha, December 5, 2022, Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.
DOI: 10.1038/s41594-022-00877-6

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