Scientists are using images to analyze how the DNA code is read for the first time
For the first time, researchers have revealed some amazing images of DNA codes that actually show in real time how it was read and transcribed. This allowed the experts to closely monitor and analyze this process. Understanding the intricacies of the process could lead to new effective ways to fight cancer in the future.
The scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research in London have now succeeded in analyzing novel images from reading the DNA code. This could help in the future to develop new opportunities and ways to treat cancer. The doctors published the results of their study in the English-language journal "Nature".
Better understanding of the process of protein formation
Observing how human DNA is read and decoded is an important step forward. This helps to better understand the process by which certain proteins are formed. All animals and plants go through this process and often it is also associated with cancer.
Microscope technology used won the Nobel Prize last year
Using the same incredible microscope technology that won the Nobel Prize last year, scientists at the Institute of Cancer Research in London were able to observe a piece of molecular machinery called RNA polymerase III transcribing a gene. The so-called RNA polymerase III is a crucial component in complex life, say the doctors. The researchers further explain that the process can accelerate cancer by producing a larger number of building blocks that the cancer needs to multiply.
Thanks to the technology used, new drugs can be developed
Now researchers can better understand how the different components of this crucial molecular mechanism fit together. Perhaps the new knowledge will enable drugs to be developed in the future that switch the system on or off, explains author Dr. Alessandro Vannini from the Institute of Cancer Research. This could lead to a completely new type of cancer treatment, the expert adds.
New electron microscope uses sample freezing
The research team was able to view the DNA using a brand new electron microscope called Cryo-EM. Cryo-EM works by freezing and then imaging samples at -180 ° C. Even the smallest details of the protein forms can be preserved, the scientists say. The created images can then be processed into precise 3D models, which can be combined. Or the scientists can analyze step by step how the DNA is read and how it is implemented in actions.
Fundamental understanding of biological systems could lead to new cancer therapies
By using cryo-EM, knowledge about the structure and behavior of biological molecules is rapidly developing, the experts say. The current discovery shows how a fundamental understanding of biological systems can open up opportunities for the development of potential new cancer therapies. Cryo-EM is so strong that it can absorb even the smallest molecules, which are only about five nanometers in size. This incredible new advancement in DNA decoding will promote understanding of diseases and potentially lead to life-saving treatments, including new ways to fight cancer, doctors say. (as)