PerspectiveMolecular Biology

Of Topo and Maxwell's Dream

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Science  01 Aug 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5326, pp. 648-649
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5326.648

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David E. Pulleyblank Topoisomerases are remarkable enzymes that remove knots and kinks from DNA. In this issue Rybenkov et al. report that topoisomerase II (topo II) and the closely related topoisomerase IV (topo IV) actually drive a population of catenated, supercoiled, and knotted DNA molecules to an untangled state far from equilibrium. Pulleyblank explains these results in his Perspective and discusses how these topoisomerases may use ATP hydrolysis to generate this dysequilibrated state.