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Correctly copying DNA

Mar. 14, 2019, 2:29 PM

The enzyme topoisomerase II resolves topological roadblocks that form during the copying and expression of genetic material by generating double-stranded breaks in one DNA segment, transporting another DNA segment through the break, and rejoining the two ends.

Tight regulation of the DNA breakage/rejoining cycle of topoisomerase II is very important to cell survival. Furthermore, several anticancer drugs exploit this DNA cleavage reaction to kill cancerous cells.

Previous studies have demonstrated that the ability to bend the double helix at specific sites is critical for topoisomerase II to cleave DNA.

Now in a study published in the journal Cell Chemical BiologyNeil Osheroff, PhD, and collaborators in South Korea used single-molecule fluorescence to monitor the individual reaction steps mediated by topoisomerase II.