newsBiochemistry

RNA Polymerase Gets Very Pushy

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Science  08 Dec 1995:
Vol. 270, Issue 5242, pp. 1568
DOI: 10.1126/science.270.5242.1568

Summary

RNA polymerase has to plow through sticky spots along a DNA strand to transcribe messenger RNA. How it does so has always been something of a mystery. As it turns out, the polymerase has one of the biggest motors around. Force measurements of the enzyme show it generates more power than even “traditional” motor proteins, and the measurement technique—which involves a trap known as an “optical tweezers”—may soon allow scientists to look at interactions between the enzyme and the DNA substrate in real-time.