Bulletin of Mathematical Biology

, Volume 58, Issue 6, pp 1171–1185

A novel intact circular dsDNA supercoil

  • Richard Wu
  • Tai Te Wu

DOI: 10.1007/BF02458388

Cite this article as:
Wu, R. & Te Wu, T. Bltn Mathcal Biology (1996) 58: 1171. doi:10.1007/BF02458388


A novel intact circular dsDNA supercoil is proposed as an alternative to the conventional DNA supercoil, so that the two complementary strands of ssDNA circles are separable without any covalent bond breakage. This new structure can be visualized by using two tubings: one black and one clear. Twist the black tubing a number of times and connect its two ends. Do the same for the clear tubing. Then wrap the two tubings together. This forms the separable or novel supercoil. On the other hand, the conventional supercoil can be modeled by twisting the black and clear tubings together and then connect their respective ends, so that the two tubings are not separable unless one of them is cut. Experimentally, in the absence of any enzyme, many intact plasmid dsDNA circles give two bands on agarose gel electrophoresis under a certain given condition, while the same plasmid molecules after cutting once by a restriction enzyme give only one band under the same, condition. In the case of intact pUC19 plasmids, these two bands can then be, recovered and sequenced separately, using two primers in opposite directions. Each band gives mostly one sequence which is complementary to that of the other band. The combination of the above theoretical model and experimental results strongly suggests that there is an alternative structure of DNA which does not have the usual difficulty of unwinding, rewinding and requiring numerous covalent bond breakages and ligations during semiconservative replication.

Copyright information

© Society for Mathematical Biology 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Richard Wu
    • 1
  • Tai Te Wu
    • 1
  1. 1.Departments of Biochemistry, Molecular Biology and Cell Biology, and Department of Biomedical EngineeringNorthwestern UniversityEvanstonU.S.A.

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