University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy

Physics and Astronomy Colloquium

Thursday, November 15th 2018
3:35 pm:
Speaker: John Marko, Northwestern University
Subject: Physics of chromosome folding and disentanglement
Refreshments in atrium after the Colloquium.

All biological phenomena depend on genetic information which is encoded
into the base-pair sequence along the very long DNA molecules found in all
living cells. The DNAs in chromosomes, in addition to being biologically
important, are amazing physical objects, being 2 nanometers wide and (in
humans) several centimeters in length. I will explain how the cell takes
care of these long, fragile chromosomal DNAs and how it uses DNA itself as
a key mechanical component of the cell nucleus. Then, during and
following DNA replication, our cells face the gigantic challenge of
figuring out how to topologically separate those long polymers from one
another. I will discuss our current understanding of the "lengthwise
compaction" mechanisms underlying this process, focusing on the interplay
between "loop-extruding" SMC complexes (mainly condensin) and
DNA-topology-changing topoisomerase II.

Faculty Host: Elias Puchner

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