Life as we know it depends on turning on and off the proper genes at the correct time. Gene transcription is how our DNA gets translated into proteins, and ultimately into biological organisms. This work done by the 2006 Chemistry Nobel Prize Laureate Roger Kornberg at the SSRL and ALS synchrotrons shows the structural basis of this. This work can potentially lead to insights into cancer treatment, gene therapy, and other important disease treatments.
This process of gene expression starts when an RNA message is copied from DNA. But the exact mechanism by which RNA does this has not been well understood. The study revealed that a structural element of the RNA enzyme called the trigger loop is involved.
Cutaway view of the Pol II transcribing complex. Template DNA, nontemplate DNA, RNA, GTP in the A site, are shown in cyan, green, red, orange, respectively. The bridge helix (Rpb1 815- 848) is in green; trigger loop (Rpb1 1065-1110) is in magenta and Mg2+ ions are shown in magenta spheres. The pol II surface is shown in gray.
REFERENCE: Cell, 127, 941 (2006)
RESEARCH TEAM INCLUDES :
Stanford University and SSRL.
Work performed at the Advanced Light Source and the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Laboratory.