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Mechanical response of plectonemic DNA: an analytical solution

Summary: Mechanical response of plectonemic DNA:
an analytical solution
N. Clauvelin, B. Audoly, S. Neukirch
UPMC Univ. Paris 06 & CNRS,
Institut Jean le Rond d'Alembert,
4, place Jussieu, Paris, France
February 21, 2008
We consider an elastic rod model for twisted DNA in the plectone-
mic regime. The molecule is treated as an impenetrable tube with an
effective, adjustable radius. The model is solved analytically and we
derive formulas for the contact pressure, twisting moment and geo-
metrical parameters of the supercoiled region. We apply our model to
magnetic tweezer experiments of a DNA molecule subjected to a tensile
force and a torque, and extract mechanical and geometrical quantities
from the linear part of the experimental response curve. These recon-
structed values are derived in a self-contained manner, and are found
to be consistent with those available in the literature.
1 Introduction
Mechanical properties of the DNA molecule play an important role in the


Source: Audoly, Basile - Institut Jean Le Rond D'Alembert, Université Pierre-et-Marie-Curie, Paris 6


Collections: Materials Science; Physics