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Mechanical forces could affect gene expression
Date:2/2/2010

s act as buckles to connect distant points on the DNA to form the loops. That's the chemistry part. The challenge for physics is to understand how the DNA bends so those distant points can come together.

While this experiment was performed on free DNA, the scientists say forces as much as 100 times stronger are regularly created inside cells as contents shift and buffet each other.

"If we can basically shut this process down with the tiniest force, how could all these larger forces not have an impact on gene expression?" Milstein said.

Meiners and his team are striving for a quantitative understanding of this biological process. He likens the current state of our understanding of gene expression to a diagram. He is searching for equations, and these results begin to provide that.

"We can tell you how long you'll have to wait for a DNA loop to form based on how much force you apply to the DNA," Meiners said. "We're one step closer to understanding cells quantitatively."


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Contact: Nicole Casal Moore
ncmoore@umich.edu
734-647-1838
University of Michigan
Source:Eurekalert

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