Send to

Choose Destination
Yi Chuan. 2017 Sep 20;39(9):771-774. doi: 10.16288/j.yczz.17-251.

Single molecular biology: coming of age in DNA replication.

Author information

State Key Laboratory of Agro-Biotechnology, College of Biological Sciences, China Agricultural University, Beijing 100193, China.


DNA replication is an essential process of the living organisms. To achieve precise and reliable replication, DNA polymerases play a central role in DNA synthesis. Previous investigations have shown that the average rates of DNA synthesis on the leading and lagging strands in a replisome must be similar to avoid the formation of significant gaps in the nascent strands. The underlying mechanism has been assumed to be coordination between leading- and lagging-strand polymerases. However, Kowalczykowski's lab members recently performed single molecule techniques in E. coli and showed the real-time behavior of a replisome. The leading- and lagging-strand polymerases function stochastically and independently. Furthermore, when a DNA polymerase is paused, the helicase slows down in a self-regulating fail-safe mechanism, akin to a ''dead-man's switch''. Based on the real-time single-molecular observation, the authors propose that leading- and lagging-strand polymerases synthesize DNA stochastically within a Gaussian distribution. Along with the development and application of single-molecule techniques, we will witness a new age of DNA replication and other biological researches.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Loading ...
Support Center