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A statistical approach to close packing of elastic rods and to DNA packaging in viral capsids
 

Summary: A statistical approach to close packing of elastic rods
and to DNA packaging in viral capsids
E. Katzav*
, M. Adda-Bedia
, and A. Boudaoud
*Laboratoire de Physique The´orique and Laboratoire de Physique Statistique, Unite´ Mixte de Recherche 8550, Ecole Normale Supe´rieure, 24 rue Lhomond,
F-75231 Paris Cedex 05, France
Communicated by Sam Edwards, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, United Kingdom, October 13, 2006 (received for review December 7, 2005)
We propose a statistical approach for studying the close packing of
elastic rods. This phenomenon belongs to the class of problems of
confinement of low dimensional objects, such as DNA packaging in
viral capsids. The method developed is based on Edwards' ap-
proach, which was successfully applied to polymer physics and to
granular matter. We show that the confinement induces a config-
urational phase transition from a disordered (isotropic) phase to an
ordered (nematic) phase. In each phase, we derive the pressure
exerted by the rod (DNA) on the container (capsid) and the force
necessary to inject (eject) the rod into (out of) the container. Finally,
we discuss the relevance of the present results with respect to
physical and biological problems. Regarding DNA packaging in

  

Source: Adda-Bedia, Mokhtar - Laboratoire de Physique Statistique, Département de Physique, École Normale Supérieure

 

Collections: Physics