Title

The elastic energy of sharply bent nicked DNA

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

4-29-2010

Keywords

DNA springs, protein-DNA chimeras, biomolecules, equilibrium deformations, polymer physics

Abstract

We obtain measurements of the elastic energy of short (18–30 bp) molecules of ds DNA constrained into a sharply bent conformation, using a thermodynamic method with the DNA in solution. We consider the case where there is one nick in the ds DNA, and find that the system develops a kink at a critical torque τc≈27 pN×nm. In this regime the elastic energy is linear in the end-to-end distance (EED). For smaller torques the DNA is smoothly bent and described by the worm-like–chain energy, which is also approximately linear in the EED, but with a different slope. Thus we access both the high and low elastic energy regimes, and the transition between the two.

Comments

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