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DNA is a molecular manual that contains instructions for building life. And, like any manual, DNA isn't all that useful if it remains unopened and unread. In order to transcribe DNA, the enzyme RNA polymerase, or RNAP, must pry open its two strands, a process known as "melting" or "unwinding." In a recent study, Rockefeller scientists elucidated key features of RNAP, shedding light on how DNA's gene-filled folios are read.
In the study, published in Nature, Elizabeth A. Campbell, Seth A. Darst, Hande Boyaci and their colleagues used cryo-electron microscopy to analyze the structure of RNAP in the process of melting DNA. They found that two distinct features of the enzyme—called...
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