ICR Researchers use Cryo-Electron Microscopy to zoom in on DNA code being read in cells
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ICR Researchers use Cryo-Electron Microscopy to zoom in on DNA code being read in cells


At the ICR we’ve uncovered one of the most
fundamental processes occurring in cells using state of
the art cryo-electron microscopes. Our pioneering research published in Nature has zoomed in
on a molecular machine called RNA polymerase III, catching it in the initial
stages of transcription, which is the reading and decoding of the
genetic information. In all plants and animals, DNA is carefully read and decoded, but in
cancer this mechanism can be hijacked. Cyro-electron microscopes can view cellular structures thousands
of times smaller than a human hair. We used it to image the RNA polymerase III complex
while binding to DNA and initiating the process of transcribing a gene. This complex is often
overactive in cancer, because cancer cells rely on a large number of protein building
blocks to rapidly grow and divide. Now we’ve seen for the first time how all the components
of this sophisticated apparatus fit together and interact with each other during the initial
stages of gene transcription. Early-stage basic research like this is so important to
cancer research. By looking in close detail at the RNA polymerase III
complex, we will find weaknesses that we could potentially exploit to find new drugs, to
hopefully defeat cancer.

6 thoughts on “ICR Researchers use Cryo-Electron Microscopy to zoom in on DNA code being read in cells

  1. In the cell and around the actual dna chain you can find dna material and actual portions of Dna seeming to be unused. Are those used or interacting in any wayin the processes of the human system even when they are not part of the actual dna chains.

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