Berkeley Lab Highlights

hat is why a paper in the March 31 issue of the journal Science, co-authored by a team of Berkeley Lab and UC Berkeley researchers, was considered to be a major breakthrough. The tean reported the first systematic and direct observations of individual RNAP molecules as they read a gene during the transcription of single DNA molecules. Their observations provided new insights into how genetic expression in cells may be regulated. The research team was led by Carlos In an "optical tweezers" setup, a laser beam focused through a high-aperture microscope lens traps a micron-sized polystyrene sphere that has been tethered to a single DNA or RNA polymerase molecule. Here, post-doctoral researcher Nancy Forde uses blue light to illuminate the flow chamber of the apparatus in order to capture images with a CCD camera.

Bustamante, a biophysicist and professor who heads the Advanced Microscopies Department for the Physical Biosciences Division. "Ours was the first study in which the dynamics of RNAP have been studied systematically at a single molecule level and on enzymes that were actively transcribing," he says.
< Highlights Top ^ Continue >