Biophysical Reviews

, Volume 9, Issue 4, pp 289–291 | Cite as

Protein–nucleic acids interactions: new ways of connecting structure, dynamics and function

  • Maria Spies
  • Brian O. Smith
Letter to the Editor

Molecular machines that act on nucleic acids, DNA and RNA are at the heart of the field of cellular information processing. A coherent description of the interactions involved in their assembly, activities and regulation affords a quantitative understanding of how transcription factors and DNA repair proteins find their unique targets among millions of nonspecific sequences and undamaged DNA bases, how the intricate choreography of DNA replication, recombination and repair and gene expression is regulated, how viral particles self-assemble and how chromosomes are organized inside living cells. These important questions are not easy to answer for the following reasons:(1) transactions between proteins and nucleic acids commonly involve extended surfaces with multiple interaction epitopes, and the resulting macromolecular assemblies are non-homogenous and dynamic; (2) the structures of multicomponent protein–DNA and protein–RNA complexes are often refractory to analysis by traditional...


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Maria Spies and Brian O. Smith declare that they have no conflicts of interest to declare.


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Copyright information

© International Union for Pure and Applied Biophysics (IUPAB) and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Carver College of MedicineUniversity of IowaIowa CityUSA
  2. 2.Institute of Molecular, Cell and Systems Biology, College of Medical, Veterinary & Life SciencesUniversity of GlasgowGlasgowUK

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