Research Insights - September 01, 2015

Untying DNA Knots

The research team members, Dr. ZHAI Yuanliang (Right), IAS Junior Fellow and Research Assistant Professor and Prof. TYE Bik-Kwoon, Visiting Professor are both from the Division of Life Science at HKUST.

More than 60 years ago, when James WATSON and Francis CRICK solved the duplex helical structure of DNA, the genetic material found in all living organisms, they predicted that copying DNA requires the separation of the two complementary strands so each can serve as template for replication of the other. Ever since, the mechanism and enzymes involved in the initial melting (destabilization) of DNA, especially in eukaryotes (organisms including animals, plants and fungi), have been an outstanding problem for biologists. A research team led by Prof. TYE Bik-Kwoon from the Division of Life Science at HKUST and Prof. GAO Ning at Tsinghua University has succeeded in solving the structure of a critical enzyme with the use of the state-of-the-art Cryo-electron microscopy technology. 

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