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How DNA topology and DNA length affect the body's defense against nucleic acids of invading organisms in the blood

Date: 
Wednesday 5th September 2012 - 10:50 to 11:30
Venue: 
INI Seminar Room 1
Abstract: 
It has long been known that human blood contains enzymes that digest DNA to protect the body against invasion by foreign organisms. We set out to determine how DNA length and supercoiling affected DNA vector survival in human serum. Closed circular, supercoiled vectors ranging from ~300 to ~4,000 bp were incubated at 37°C in human serum. Aliquots were taken over several days and were analyzed by gel electrophoresis. We found that digestion in human serum strongly correlated with increasing DNA length. To our surprise, we also uncovered a trend by which serum proteins bound and protected DNA. We recently published that the compaction by DNA supercoiling protected small ( This work was supported by NIH RO1AI054830, Human Frontier Science Program, and Seattle's Children's Hospital Research Foundation, part of NGEC, to L.Z. T.J.B. was supported by NIH Grant T32 GM88129.
University of Cambridge Research Councils UK
    Clay Mathematics Institute London Mathematical Society NM Rothschild and Sons