A recent study published in Nature Communications led by Shixin Liu from The Rockefeller University, New York, demonstrates how the C-Trap® can be used to directly visualize and observe molecular mechanisms in action, leading to better and faster insights into critical molecular processes. This study marks an important milestone for LUMICKS, as it is the 100th publication of a peer-reviewed scientific article using data from the C-Trap.
Smc5/6 is an evolutionarily conserved SMC complex with roles in DNA replication and repair, as well as viral DNA restriction, which are crucial for maintaining genome stability. Defects in this complex can lead to a wide range of human diseases, such as cancer, making it an attractive target for the development of novel therapeutics. However, understanding its multiple functions has been hampered by the lack of appropriate tools that can provide dynamic insights into how the Smc5/6 complex associates with different types of DNA.
Using LUMICKS’ C-Trap technology, which is equipped with optical tweezers and fluorescence microscopy, the researchers were able to visualize and observe in real time the dynamic behavior of Smc5/6 on three types of DNA: double-stranded (ds) DNA, single-stranded (ss) DNA, and junction DNA formed by juxtaposed ss- and dsDNA. Their results, intriguingly, show that Smc5/6 displays distinct association behaviors towards diverse types of DNA. For instance, they found that Smc5/6 can move over dsDNA in a dynamic manner and protect junction DNA stability by preventing ssDNA annealing. These results provide a deeper understanding of Smc5/6’s diverse functions in genome maintenance and viral DNA restriction.
The findings in this study shed light on the complex’s multifaceted DNA association behavior, paving the way for a deeper understanding of its diverse activities in DNA restriction, replication, and repair. Ultimately, these insights may provide new targets for the development of therapies for cancer and other diseases associated with genomic instability.
For further information about this study, check out the research article “Smc5/6’s multifaceted DNA binding capacities stabilize branched DNA structures,” published in Nature Communications.