Friday, December 10, 2021

Archaea Microbes can Morph Their DNA

Single-celled archaea microbes can expand and stretch their DNA to get easy access to their genetic material. Researchers studied the organism Methanothermus fervidus, and saw that the DNA was constantly in motion. While complex multicellular organisms rely on molecular machinery to regular gene expression, Achaea microbes can contort their DNA to regulate expression. Cyro-electron microscopy shows that microbes can pack their chromatic into tight coils that can spring open with unexpected contortions. Researchers stated that the structure looks very similar to slinkies. It is hypothesized that the microbes have this slinky structure to bend genes so they can turn it on and off. This is in contrast to other cellular organisms that might use chaperone proteins and other machinery to turn genes off or on. It is still being studied if their silky-like DNA can maintain that shape in solution. Karoline Luger stated that "studying strange organisms like archaea can help scientists answer questions about multicellular life."


  1. Super interesting article! I wonder if this effect can be replicated in other organisms to regulate gene expression. For example, if we were able to somehow replicate his in humans to inhibit genes connected with disease.

  2. Hi Mueed, it is really cool how certain archaea microbes can contort their DNA to regulate gene expression. The slinky comparison was interesting and fun to read. It is amazing how genes can be bent to turn them on or off. This research truly shows that studying even simple organisms like archaea can lead to new discoveries about multicellular life.