A research paper published in the December 8, 2006 edition of Science that was authored by CALS bacteriologist Karen Wassarman was singled out by Faculty of 1000 Biology as an exceptional broad impact paper.
The paper, titled Synthesis-Mediated Release of a Small RNA Inhibitor of RNA Polymerase, describes a previously unknown approach that bacterial cells use to control RNA production.
In the conventional model, RNA production is turned off when repressor proteins bind to DNA, blocking RNA Polymerases access to a gene. RNA Polymerase is the enzyme that converts genetic information found on DNA into RNA, which is usually used to make proteins. Wassarmans paper, on the other hand, describes how a non-coding RNA can bind in the active site of RNA Polymerase to diminish RNA production when cells are starving, and how the small RNA is removed when nutrients become available again.
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