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Modeling DNA condensation on freestanding cationic lipid membranes


Petrov,  Eugene P.
Schwille, Petra / Cellular and Molecular Biophysics, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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Cherstvy, A. G., & Petrov, E. P. (2014). Modeling DNA condensation on freestanding cationic lipid membranes. PHYSICAL CHEMISTRY CHEMICAL PHYSICS, 16(5), 2020-2037. doi:10.1039/c3cp53433b.

Motivated by recent experimental observations of a rapid spontaneous DNA coil-globule transition on freestanding cationic lipid bilayers, we propose simple theoretical models for DNA condensation on cationic lipid membranes. First, for a single DNA rod, we examine the conditions of full wrapping of a cylindrical DNA-like semi-flexible polyelectrolyte by an oppositely charged membrane. Then, for two parallel DNA rods, we self-consistently analyze the shape and the extent of the membrane enveloping them, focusing on membrane elastic deformations and the membrane-DNA embracing angle, which enables us to compute the membrane-mediated DNA-DNA interactions. We examine the effects of the membrane composition and its charge density, which are the experimentally tunable parameters. We show that membrane-driven rod-rod attraction is more pronounced for higher charge densities and for smaller surface tensions of the membrane. Thus, we demonstrate that for a long DNA chain adhered to a cationic lipid membrane, such membrane-induced DNA-DNA attraction can trigger compaction of DNA.