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Single DNA molecules on freestanding and supported cationic lipid bilayers: diverse conformational dynamics controlled by the local bilayer properties

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Schwille,  Petra
Schwille, Petra / Cellular and Molecular Biophysics, Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Max Planck Society;

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

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Herold, C., Schwille, P., & Petrov, E. P. (2016). Single DNA molecules on freestanding and supported cationic lipid bilayers: diverse conformational dynamics controlled by the local bilayer properties. JOURNAL OF PHYSICS D-APPLIED PHYSICS, 49(7): 074001. doi:10.1088/0022-3727/49/7/074001.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-002A-2755-5
Abstract
We present experimental results on the interaction of DNA macromolecules with cationic lipid membranes with different properties, including freestanding membranes in the fluid and gel state, and supported lipid membranes in the fluid state and under conditions of fluid-gel phase coexistence. We observe diverse conformational dynamics of membrane-bound DNA molecules controlled by the local properties of the lipid bilayer. In case of fluid-state freestanding lipid membranes, the behaviour of DNA on the membrane is controlled by the membrane charge density: whereas DNA bound to weakly charged membranes predominantly behaves as a 2D random coil, an increase in the membrane charge density leads to membrane-driven irreversible DNA collapse and formation of subresolution-sized DNA globules. On the other hand, electrostatic binding of DNA macromolecules to gel-state freestanding membranes leads to completely arrested diffusion and conformational dynamics of membrane-adsorbed DNA. A drastically different picture is observed in case of DNA interaction with supported cationic lipid bilayers: When the supported bilayer is in the fluid state, membrane-bound DNA molecules undergo 2D translational Brownian motion and conformational fluctuations, irrespectively of the charge density of the supported bilayer. At the same time, when the supported cationic membrane shows fluid-gel phase coexistence, membrane-bound DNA molecules are strongly attracted to micrometre-sized gel-phase domains enriched with the cationic lipid, which results in 2D compaction of the membrane-bound macromolecules. This DNA compaction, however, is fully reversible, and disappears as soon as the membrane is heated above the fluid-gel coexistence. We also discuss possible biological implications of our experimental findings.