C1 -

Physical approach to binding and error in competing molecular environments

Principal Investigators: 

In the first funding period we have shown that the molecular recognition accuracy of similar DNA oligonucleotide strands, in competition for hybridization to the same probe, can be much higher than the currently accepted limit given by the Boltzmann factor of the average binding energy differences of the competing strands. To explain our observations we suggest a collective effect. We have found preliminary evidence using an E. coli-based, cell-free expression system, showing that methylation dependent transcription regulation as well as the erroneous incorporation of amino acids into the transcription machinery may involve similar effects. We will perform controlled experiments that address molecular recognition in these systems. By emphasizing both, the dynamical and the collective aspects, we expect to address the underlying physical fundamentals related to the error tolerance of the transcription apparatus of the biological cell.













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