The following is an edited excerpt.
Like an impossibly twisted telephone cord, DNA, the molecule that encodes genetic information, also often finds itself twisted into coils. This twisting, called supercoiling, is caused by enzymes that travel along DNA’s helical groove and exert force and torque as they move.
For the first time, these tiny torques have been measured in the lab of Michelle Wang, professor of physics and Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. Their technique may be used to examine the broader impacts of torque and DNA supercoiling associated with other motor proteins, and lend new insights into the gene transcription process.
Read the full story here: Physicists tease out twisted torques of DNA