Dr. Bin Liu, Assistant Professor and leader of the Transcription and Gene Regulation lab at The Hormel Institute, published a paper in Nucleic Acids Research, a prestigious journal with a very high impact factor published by Oxford University Press.

Dr. Liu is the corresponding author of the paper titled “Structural basis for activation of Swi2/Snf2 ATPase RapA by RNA polymerase.” Dr. Liu utilized cryo-electron microscopy (CryoEM), a Titan Krios considered one of the world’s most powerful electron microscopes housed at The Hormel Institute for this research. The results provide the structural basis of RapA ATPase activation by RNAP and advance our understanding of the activation mechanism of the widespread Swi2/Snf2 family ATPase.

“The Swi2/Snf2 family proteins regulate many nucleic acid transactions, such as DNA replication, transcription, DNA repair and recombination through mediating mobilization of various nucleic acid-protein complexes,” said Dr. Liu. “These family proteins are also involved in human diseases, such as Cockayne’s syndrome, alpha-thalassemia, mental retardation syndrome, and cancer. However, the underlying mechanisms are not well understood.”

The findings are critically important because by understanding the progression of disease, research leading to control and prevention can be advanced.

Thanks to the support of The Hormel Foundation, The Hormel Institute’s CryoEM was added as part of the 2016 expansion. It is one of the world’s most powerful electron microscopes and in Minnesota, this microscope expertise is only found at The Hormel Institute. It allows HI’s cryoEM team of scientists (structural biologists) to see the structure of some of the smallest parts of our bodies – down to the near-atomic level.

Full paper is accessible here: https://academic.oup.com/nar/advance-article/doi/10.1093/nar/gkab744/6357092