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Journal Article

Length scale dependence of DNA mechanical properties


Golestanian,  Ramin       
Department of Living Matter Physics, Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organization, Max Planck Society;

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Noy, A., & Golestanian, R. (2012). Length scale dependence of DNA mechanical properties. Physical Review Letters, 109(22): 228101. doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.109.228101.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-7771-A
Although mechanical properties of DNA are well characterized at the kilobase-pair range, a number of recent experiments have suggested that DNA is more flexible at shorter length scales, which correspond to the regime that is crucial for cellular processes such as DNA packaging and gene regulation. Here, we perform a systematic study of the effective elastic properties of DNA at different length scales by probing the conformation and fluctuations of DNA from the single base-pair level up to four helical turns, using trajectories from atomistic simulation. We find evidence that supports cooperative softening of the stretch modulus and identify the essential modes that give rise to this effect. The bend correlation exhibits modulations that reflect the helical periodicity, while it yields a reasonable value for the effective persistence length, and the twist modulus undergoes a smooth crossover-from a relatively smaller value at the single base-pair level to the bulk value-over half a DNA turn. © 2012 American Physical Society.