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Nature11 November 2004

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DNA breaks: Healing the helix

Double-stranded breaks in DNA can arise in various ways including as damage due to ionizing radiation, and following single-stranded nicks that occur as a replication fork passes by. They can be lethal to a cell if not repaired. The crystal structure of an enzyme that repairs these breaks has now been determined. The structure of the Escherichia coli RecBCD enzyme, bound to a blunt-ended DNA hairpin, reveals how double DNA strands are split up, then fed to a pair of helicase motor subunits for repair.

article
Crystal structure of RecBCD enzyme reveals a machine for processing DNA breaks
MARTIN R. SINGLETON, MARK S. DILLINGHAM, MARTIN GAUDIER, STEPHEN C. KOWALCZYKOWSKI & DALE B. WIGLEY
Nature 432, 187193 (2004); doi:10.1038/nature02988
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news and views
DNA repair: Big engine finds small breaks
ANNA MARIE PYLE
When a break occurs in the DNA double helix, it must be dealt with rapidly. The structure of one of the cellular machines responsible is now revealed, offering insights into its impressive speed and flexibility.
Nature 432, 157158 (2004); doi:10.1038/432157a
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11 November 2004 table of contents

   
    2004 Nature Publishing Group