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Rice University-based models simulate how nucleosomes facilitate gene exposure.
The protein complex that holds strands of DNA in compact spools partially disassembles itself to help genes reveal themselves to specialized proteins and enzymes for activation, according to Rice University researchers and their colleagues. The team’s detailed computer models support the idea that DNA unwrapping and core protein unfolding are coupled, and that DNA unwrapping can happen asymmetrically to expose specific genes. The study of nucleosome disassembly by Rice theoretical biological physicist Peter Wolynes, former Rice postdoctoral researcher Bin Zhang, postdoctoral researcher Weihua Zheng and University of Maryland theoretical chemist Garegin Papoian appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. The research is part of a drive by Rice’s Center for Theoretical Biological Physics (CTBP) to understand the details of DNA’s structure, dynamics and function. Read more...