On promoters and operators, which combination is the best?

DNA helix artistPromoters and (their often forgotten partner-in-crime) operators are two key elements in the transcription of a protein sequence. A promoter sequence recruits the RNA polymerase and the status of the operator determines whether or not the adjunctive protein sequence gets translated (Figure 1). So far, biochemistry 101. Far more interesting is the diversity in promoter/operator complexes currently employed in the biotech industry and their associated efficiency rates. Not a lot of quantitative and  real comparable research had been done on this topic, until March 2013…

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Happy DNA day!

DNAsnapshotToday it is exactly 60 years ago (April 25, 1953) J.D. Watson and F.H.C Crick published their famous DNA structure paper in Nature. You can  read the original article at Nature website here for free. In 1962  James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery. As of 2003 the 25th of April is celebrated as DNA day.

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Boiling ubiquitin results in a new landmark in protein folding

antonThis week David Shaw set another milestone in the protein-folding field. Two years ago he was the first to show how twelve “fast folding” proteins fold. Now he is the first to show how a “slow” protein folds. As test case he used the well-studied ubiquitin protein. The main goal was to prove the folding rules they found for “fast folders” is also applicable to “slow folding” proteins.

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The simple wonders of nature: a niffy enzyme

acidianus

Transmishion electron microscope (TEM) image of a Acidianus archaeon by George Rice

Now and then you stumble upon a straightforward self-explaining stereotypical paper. In this case it bears the clear name “Evolution of a new enzyme for carbon disulphide conversion by an acidothermophilic archaeon”(Smeulders et al., 2011) and written by the Microbiology department of Radboud University Nijmegen in The Netherlands. It extensively describes how a hydrolase (which converts CS2 to H2S and CO2) was likely to be evolved from a β-carbonic anhydrase (which converts CO2 in HCO3). But the work preceding this conclusion and the enzyme itself are actually much more interesting…

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