Untwisting DNA reveals new force that shapes genomes

Untwisting DNA reveals new force that shapes genomes

Untwisting DNA reveals new force that shapes genomes Advances in microscopy have enabled researchers to picture loops of DNA strands for the first time. The images reveal how the human genome organizes itself in three-dimensional space at much higher resolution than previously possible. The findings, published in a new study in the journal Molecular Cell, also reveal that the process of DNA being copied into RNA—transcription—indirectly shapes the architecture of the genome. An international team led by Pia Cosma at the Center for Genomic Regulation (CRG) in Barcelona and Melike Lakadamyali at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania in the United States found that transcription generates a force that moves across DNA strands like ripples through water. Known as supercoiling, the force causes structural proteins known as cohesins to 'surf' across DNA strands, changing the scaffold's architecture and morphing the overall shape of the genome. While it is known that genome organization regulates gene transcription, it is the first-time researchers have found transcription to impact genome organization the other way round through supercoiling. According to the …
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