Eric Betzig of HHMI’s Janelia Research Campus was awarded the 2014 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for developing a technique for visualizing molecules with a precision of 2-25 nm. The method has allowed tracking the behavior of single protein molecules in a living cell. This animation was developed using single-molecule tracking data, showing a representation, in real-time, of how the transcription factors SOX2 and OCT4 locate their appropriate binding sites on DNA. They can be seen spending most of their time floating around the nucleus or binding to DNA at locations other than their target binding sites. Every time SOX2 and OCT4 interact with DNA, they “sample” the sequence—represented in the animation as a rapid spiraling motion around the DNA molecule.
Animation by Fabian de Kok-Mercado MA, CMI and Satoshi Amagai PhD, HHMI. Scientific Consultation by Zhe Liu PhD, Jiji Chen PhD, and Robert Tjian PhD, HHMI
Click the link below to view the open-access publication of the original research and explore the supplemental videos to see what the raw data looks like.
Chen, J., et al. (2014) Single-molecule Dynamics of Enhanceosome Assembly in Embryonic Stem Cells. Cell 156(6): 1274–1285.