DNA images captured during cell division | HT Tech

DNA images captured during cell division

Researchers have for the first time captured detailed images of life's essence and reveal the structure of a DNA-protein complex. Dazzling pictures reveal a key step in the process of cell division.

By: SEEMA HAKHU KACHRU
| Updated on: Jan 08 2008, 11:10 IST

Researchers have for the first time captured detailed images of life's essence and revealed the structure of a DNA-protein complex that is crucial in the spread of antibiotic resistance among bacteria.

The dazzling pictures reveal a key step in the process of cell division, which all organisms must undergo to survive. The moment occurs deep within a cell, as two proteins work in concert to unzip a strand of DNA to create two new cells.

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Until now, scientists seeking to directly observe this essential process could only view fuzzy images taken by an electron microscope.

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A scientist at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center has changed that by perfecting a technique employed by biophysicist Rosalind Franklin more than half a century ago to gather the first images of DNA.

'We solve structures to answer questions about how molecules carry out their biological functions. Without knowing the structure, you can't understand molecular mechanisms at a detailed level,' says Schumacher, associate professor.

In this case, Schumacher and colleagues answer a basic science question and flag a possible target for clinical attack on antibiotic-resistant Staphlococcus Aureas, a tenacious and often lethal staph infection.

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First Published Date: 08 Jan, 11:01 IST
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