DNA Repair Captured in Real Time


Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the University at Buffalo


Piero Bianco, PhD, microbiologist at University at Buffalo Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences


Bianco was the first to film a DNA motor protein “unzipping” a double-strand of bacterial DNA in real time. Knowing how DNA unwinds, copies and repairs itself—what starts it, what stops it and why—is vitally important to DNA research and could lead to major advancements in cancer treatment. DNA motor proteins are natural drug targets because they allow DNA to copy and repair itself, causing the uncontrolled cell growth in cancer. Researchers know that many cancer drugs stop cell growth, but they don’t know precisely how.


Bianco was able to capture this “unzipping” in 20xx through a technique he developed called “laser tweezers.” Using this tool, he grasped and held a DNA molecule long enough to capture the action on film as the double helix unwinds.