Research CommentariesPROTEIN STRUCTURE

Topological Nuts and Bolts

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Science  06 Mar 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5356, pp. 1490-1491
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5356.1490

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Topoisomerases are unique enzymes that unwind twisted strands of DNA, changing its topology. The crystal structure of one of these enzymes--topoisomerase I, an important target for cancer therapy--is presented on pp. 1504 and 1534 of this issue. In his commentary, Nash explains how this enzyme causes the breakage of one DNA strand, its controlled movement around the other strand, and reattachment at the original site.