All-or-none switching of transcriptional activity on single DNA molecules caused by a discrete conformational transition

Yamada, Ayako; Kubo, Koji; Nakai, Tonau; Yoshikawa, Kenichi; Tsumoto, Kanta
May 2005
Applied Physics Letters;5/30/2005, Vol. 86 Issue 22, p223901
Academic Journal
Recently, it has been confirmed that long duplex DNA molecules with a size larger than several tens of kilo-base pairs (kbp), exhibit a discrete conformational transition from an unfolded coil state to a folded compact state upon the addition of various kinds of chemical species that usually induce DNA condensation. In this study, we performed a single-molecule observation on a large DNA, Lambda ZAP II DNA (∼41 kbp), in a solution containing RNA polymerase and substrates along with spermine, a tetravalent cation, at different concentrations, by use of fluorescence staining of both DNA and RNA. We found that transcription, or RNA production, is completely inhibited in the compact globule state, but is actively performed in the unfolded coil state. Such an all-or-none effect on transcriptional activity induced by the discrete conformational transition of single DNA molecules is discussed in relation to the mechanism of the regulation of large-scale genetic activity.


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