Studying chromosome biology with single-molecule resolution in Xenopus laevis egg extracts

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Cell-free extracts from Xenopus laevis eggs are a model system for studying chromosome biology. Xenopus egg extracts can be synchronised in different cell cycle stages, making them useful for studying DNA replication, DNA repair and chromosome organisation. Combining single-molecule approaches with egg extracts is an exciting development being used to reveal molecular mechanisms that are difficult to study using conventional approaches. Fluorescence-based single-molecule imaging of surface-tethered DNAs has been used to visualise labelled protein movements on stretched DNA, the dynamics of DNA-protein complexes and extract-dependent structural rearrangement of stained DNA. Force-based single-molecule techniques are an alternative approach to measure mechanics of DNA and proteins. In this essay, the details of these single-molecule techniques, and the insights into chromosome biology they provide, will be discussed.

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Volume 65
Issue number 1
Pages 17-26
Available online
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