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Binding of molecules to DNA and other semiflexible polymers Haim Diamant* and David Andelman

Summary: Binding of molecules to DNA and other semiflexible polymers
Haim Diamant* and David Andelman
School of Physics and Astronomy, Raymond and Beverly Sackler Faculty of Exact Sciences, Tel Aviv University,
Ramat-Aviv, 69978 Tel Aviv, Israel
Received 21 October 1999
A theory is presented for the binding of small molecules such as surfactants to semiflexible polymers. The
persistence length is assumed to be large compared to the monomer size but much smaller than the total chain
length. Such polymers e.g., DNA represent an intermediate case between flexible polymers and stiff, rodlike
ones, whose association with small molecules was previously studied. The chains are not flexible enough to
actively participate in the self-assembly, yet their fluctuations induce long-range attractive interactions between
bound molecules. In cases where the binding significantly affects the local chain stiffness, those interactions
lead to a very sharp, cooperative association. This scenario is of relevance to the association of DNA with
surfactants and compact proteins such as RecA. External tension exerted on the chain is found to significantly
modify the binding by suppressing the fluctuation-induced interaction.
PACS number s : 61.25.Hq, 87.15.Nn, 87.14.Gg
Aqueous solutions containing polymers and small associ-
ating molecules such as folded proteins and amphiphiles
surfactants are commonly found in biological systems and
industrial applications. As a result, extensive efforts have


Source: Andelman, David - School of Physics and Astronomy, Tel Aviv University


Collections: Materials Science; Physics