Scientists have created an unprecedented 3-dimensional structural model of a key molecular “machine” known as the BAF complex, which modifies DNA architecture and is frequently mutated in cancer and some other diseases. The researchers, led by Cigall Kadoch, PhD, of Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, have reported the first 3-D structural “picture” of BAF complexes purified directly from human cells in their native states — rather than artificially synthesized in the laboratory -providing an opportunity to spatially map thousands of cancer-associated mutations to specific locations within the complex.
“A 3-D structural model, or ‘picture,’ of how this complex actually looks inside the nucleus of our cells has remained elusive — until now,” says Kadoch. The newly obtained model represents “the most complete picture of the human BAF complex achieved to date,” said the investigators, reporting in the journal Cell.
These new findings “provide a critical foundation for understanding human disease-associated mutations