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Picture of a cancer-related cell enzyme in action on a chromosome unit detailed for the first time

A landmark study published in the print edition of the journal Nature provides new insight into the function of an enzyme related to the BRCA1 protein. The study by a team at University is the first to produce a detailed working image of an enzyme in the Polycomb Repressive Complex 1 (PRC1) – a group that regulates cell development and is associated with many types of cancer.

[PRC1 enzyme]
This image is the first detailed picture of the crystal structure of a gene-regulation enzyme while it is working on a nucleosome — a fundamental component of the chromosomes that provide structure and organization for an organism’s genes. Nucleosomes are key targets of the enzymes that conduct genetic processes critical for life. This image reveals the crystal structure of the PRC1 enzyme (yellow, blue and red) bound to the nucleosome (DNA in light blue, histone proteins in purple, light green, light yellow and pink) This image was obtained in the lab of Song Tan at and was published in the print edition of the journal Nature on October 30, 2014.
Credit: Song Tan lab, Penn State University


This research was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and Penn State University.

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