Topological analysis of DNA-protein complexes

Wednesday, December 12, 2007 - 11:15am - 12:15pm
Lind 409
Soojeong Kim (The University of Iowa)
Difference topology is a methodology to derive the number of DNA crossings trapped in an unknown protein complex. By this method, Pathania, Jayaram, and Harshey revealed the topological structure within the Mu protein complex which consisted of three DNA segments containing five nodes [1]. In their experiments, they used a member of the site-specific recombinases which is known as Cre. Cre mediates DNA exchange by rearranging target sites of the DNA segments. During this DNA recombination, there are no extra DNA crossings introduced. The initial DNA conformation is unknotted. After Cre recombination, the products are knots or catenanes. Recently, Darcy, Luecke, and Vazquez analyzed these experimental results and proved that the five-noded conformation is the only biologically reasonable structure of the Mu protein DNA complex [2]. We address the possibility of protein complexes that binds four DNA segments. By the useful property of Cre, we can make the assumption that after Cre recombination, the topology of a DNA-protein complex would be a knot or catenane. The latest results of the topological tangle model for this case and very basic biological and mathematical backgrounds will be discussed.

[1] S. Pathania, M. Jayaram, and R. Harshey, Path of DNA within the Mu transpososome: Transposase interaction bridging two Mu ends and the enhancer trap five DNA supercoils, Cell 109 (2002), 425-436.

[2] I. K. Darcy, J. Luecke, and M. Vazquez, A tangle analysis of the Mu transpososome protein complex which binds three DNA segments, Preprint.