alexa The mechanical advantages of DNA.


Biochemistry & Analytical Biochemistry

Author(s): Norris V, Onoda T, Pollaert H, Grehan G

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Abstract The elastic properties of DNA and the contractile activities of enzymes involved in transcription, translation and supercoiling may have contributed to the ability of early cells (protocells) to withstand turgor pressure. In the hypothesis proposed here, resistance to turgor resulted from (1) the elastic properties of DNA which was connected to the membrane by association with positively charged lipids and with membrane peptides, (2) the coupled transcription-translation-insertion of peptides into membrane--transertion--which connected membranes with phase-condensed DNA, and (3) the action of topoisomerases which supercoiled and shortened DNA. The existence of a negative feedback system is also proposed to explain how weakened regions of membrane were preferentially strengthened. It may prove possible to test this hypothesis by studying transertion using optical tweezers and by studying wall-less L-form bacteria.
This article was published in Biosystems and referenced in Biochemistry & Analytical Biochemistry

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