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Wednesday, July 09, 2008
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)


DNA participates in directing its transcription through structurally specific dynamics

Anny Usheva
Harvard University

Understanding the reason why a DNA sequence acts as a gene promoter is an unsolved problem despite the enormous amount of DNA sequence data available and the great number of identified gene promoters. Recently we demonstrated that structurally specific coherent thermal fluctuations identify locations in the DNA sequences where the RNA polymerases initiate transcription. Further, we discovered indications that the thermal fluctuations help in recruiting other protein complexes participating in the transcriptional process by DNA double strand distortion at specific locations. Our observations suggest that torsional effects play a significant role in opening the two strands through stress-induced duplex destabilization (SIDD). While SIDD may well represent the mechanism of localized DNA melting, it is not entirely clear how the specificity of the position of distortion at the transcriptional start site is realized in dsDNA.

Host: POC/Kim Rasmussen, T-11