Restriction enzymes use a 24 dimensional coding space to recognize 6 base long DNA sequences

Thomas D. Schneider, Vishnu Jejjala

Restriction enzymes recognize and bind to specific sequences on invading bacteriophage DNA. Like a key in a lock, these proteins require many contacts to specify the correct DNA sequence. Using information theory we develop an equation that defines the number of independent contacts, which is the dimensionality of the binding. We show that EcoRI, which binds to the sequence GAATTC, functions in 24 dimensions. Information theory represents messages as spheres in high dimensional spaces. Better sphere packing leads to better communications systems. The densest known packing of hyperspheres occurs on the Leech lattice in 24 dimensions. We suggest that the single protein EcoRI molecule employs a Leech lattice in its operation. Optimizing density of sphere packing explains why 6 base restriction enzymes are so common.

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