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Annu Rev Biophys. 2013;42:241-63. doi: 10.1146/annurev-biophys-083012-130304. Epub 2013 Feb 28.

Molecular traffic jams on DNA.

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Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas 78712, USA.


All aspects of DNA metabolism-including transcription, replication, and repair-involve motor enzymes that move along genomic DNA. These processes must all take place on chromosomes that are occupied by a large number of other proteins. However, very little is known regarding how nucleic acid motor proteins move along the crowded DNA substrates that are likely to exist in physiological settings. This review summarizes recent progress in understanding how DNA-binding motor proteins respond to the presence of other proteins that lie in their paths. We highlight recent single-molecule biophysical experiments aimed at addressing this question, with an emphasis placed on analyzing the single-molecule, ensemble biochemical, and in vivo data from a mechanistic perspective.

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