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Bianco Lab :
Single Molecule studies of DNA motor proteins

The work in my laboratory focuses on DNA motor protein complexes or DNA nano-machines. These machines are frequently coupled to, or powered by, DNA helicases. DNA helicases are ubiquitous enzymes whose primary function is to unwind DNA duplexes into their component single strands, a process that is coupled to the hydrolysis of nucleoside 5'-triphosphates. Our work is aimed at understanding DNA helicase mechanism(s) and how these mechanisms contribute to and are adapted to the processes of replication, recombination, DNA repair and transcription.

To see how DNA nano-machines put it all together, it is necessary to see them "live" in action. We use state-of-the-art single molecule techniques to achieve this. Single molecule manipulation and observation techniques provide an unparalleled and dramatic means to study biological reactions. In general, these approaches permit direct observation, in real time, of the dynamic properties of individual molecules that would otherwise be lost in the averaging process using conventional ensemble assays. The two techniques we use are optical trapping combined with video-fluorescence microscopy and atomic force microscopy.