|Title||Deforming DNA: from physics to biology|
|Publication Type||Journal Article|
|Year of Publication||2009|
|Authors||Prévost C, Takahashi M., Lavery R|
The DNA double helix has become a modern icon which symbolizes our understanding of the molecular basis of life. It is less widely recognized that the double helix proposed by Watson and Crick more than half a century ago is a remarkably adaptable molecule that can undergo major conformational rearrangements without being irreversibly damaged. Indeed, DNA deformation is an intrinsic feature of many of the biological processes in which it is involved. Over the last two decades, single-molecule experiments coupled with molecular modeling have transformed our understanding of DNA flexibility, while the accumulation of high-resolution structures of DNA-protein complexes have demonstrated how organisms can exploit this property as a useful feature for preserving, reading, replicating, and packaging the genetic message. In this Minireview we summarize the information now available on the extreme–and the less extreme–deformations of the double helix.