Modelling DNA stretching for physics and biology
Authors: Lavery R.; Lebrun A.
Source: Genetica, Volume 106, Number 1-2, October 1999 , pp. 75-84(10)
We have used internal coordinate molecular mechanics calculations to study how the DNA double helix deforms upon stretching. Results obtained for polymeric DNA under helical symmetry constraints suggest that two distinct forms, an unwound ribbon and a narrow fibre, can be formed as a function of which ends of the duplex are pulled. Similar results are also obtained with DNA oligomers. These experiments lead to force curves which exhibit a plateau as the conformational transition occurs. This behaviour is confirmed by applying an increasing force to DNA and observing a sudden length increase at a critical force value. It is finally shown some DNA binding proteins can also stretch DNA locally, to conformations related to those created by nanomanipulation.
Document Type: Regular paper
Publication date: 1999-10-01