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Newly found DNA catalysts cleave DNA with water molecule
Date:8/16/2009

ts require two metal ions manganese and zinc to carry out their catalysis, "which is intriguing, because many natural protein-based nucleases (which cleave DNA) similarly require two metal ions," Silverman said. "One or both of the metals are presumably involved in the chemical mechanism by which our DNA catalyst achieves hydrolysis of the DNA backbone."

DNA hydrolysis is a very challenging chemical reaction, much more difficult to perform than the cleavage of a strand of RNA, Silverman said. In cleaving DNA, a water molecule must be brought in for the breaking reaction to occur. Also, both the DNA and the catalyst must be arranged appropriately in three-dimensional space.

How all of this happens with the DNA catalysts is not yet clear. Silverman's research group continues to probe the structure and mechanism of the catalysts, along with identifying and characterizing catalysts with different recognition sites.

"So far, we have achieved cleavage of single-stranded DNA targets," Silverman said. "The next big step is to cleave double-stranded DNA targets."


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Contact: James E. Kloeppel
kloeppel@illinois.edu
217-244-1073
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Source:Eurekalert

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