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IAS Senior Member and Junior Fellows Published in Top Scientific Journal

Prof. TYE Bik-kwoon (third left) and Prof. ZHAI Yuanliang (second right) holding an ORC model with members of the research team.


Dr. ZHAI Yuanliang, former IAS Junior Fellow and now Assistant Professor at the University of Hong Kong, and Dr. ZHAO Yongqian, IAS Junior Fellow and Research Assistant Professor of Life Science at HKUST, recently published an article entitled “Structure of the Origin Recognition Complex Bound to DNA Replication Origin” in Nature. The paper revealed a high-resolution image of the structure of the Origin Recognition Complex (ORC) bound to DNA under electron cryomicroscopy. The study’s findings on ORC may help to identify better targets for cancer therapy, such as synthetic chemicals that can be custom-made to fit the target.

More importantly, visualizing the structures helps us fully understand the mechanistic functions of molecular machines and therefore the roots of diseases due to the suboptimal functions of these machines.

The joint work was led by Prof. TYE Bik-kwoon, HKUST IAS Senior Member, in collaboration with researchers led by Prof. GAO Ning, Professor of Life Sciences at Peking University. The Hong Kong–Beijing team has published a series of articles on the unknown territory of DNA replication since 2015. They will continue to use the DNA replication machine at unprecedented resolutions.

CryoEM image of ORC bound to origin DNA