Biological applications that utilize DNA Topology

Friday, April 9, 2010 - 3:00pm - 4:00pm
Lind 305
Lynn Zechiedrich (Baylor College of Medicine)
The long, rich history of topology in mathematics has proven
extremely useful for the study of DNA. DNA, the genetic
blueprint for life, undergoes tremendous flux as it is
packaged, replicated, segregated, transcribed, recombined and
repaired. Extremely long and skinny, DNA is prone to
entanglement. Every time it is copied, the two resulting
daughter chromosomes are entangled. And nearly all organisms
maintain duplex DNA in a slightly underwound state. Linking
number (Lk), the major descriptor for DNA apart from base pair
sequence, defines the three forms of DNA topology, which are
known to biologists as knots, catenanes, and supercoils.
Changes in Lk have dramatic effects on biological processes.

In this talk I will provide an overview of DNA topology and the
biological ramifications of topology, including exciting new
developments in the application to medicine.

The following authors have contributed to the work:

Jonathan M. Fogg1, Daniel J. Catanese, Jr.1, Donald Schrock,
II1, Richard W. Deibler1,2,3, Jennifer K.
Mann1,4, De Witt L.
Sumners4, Brian E. Gilbert1, Youli
Zu5, Nianxi Zhao5.

1Departments of Molecular Virology & Microbiology, Biochemistry
and Molecular Biology, and Pharmacology, Baylor College of
Medicine, Houston, TX 77025

2Interdepartmental Program in Cell and Molecular Biology,
Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX 77030

3Department of Systems Biology, Harvard Medical School, Boston,
MA 02115

4Department of Mathematics, Florida State University,
Tallahassee, FL 32306

5Department of Pathology, The Methodist Hospital Research
Institute, Houston, TX 77030 USA
MSC Code: