Chiral selection in supercoiling and wrapping of DNA
This paper gives an account of our recent studies on the mechanisms for chiral selection in super-coiling and wrapping of DNA. We first present a compact model of double-stranded DNA (Model 1), which consists of two elastic chains that mutually intertwine in a right-handed manner to form a double-stranded helix. Numerical analysis of this model suggests an intrinsic propensity of DNA to writhe in the left direction upon bending. Based on this asymmetric elasticity of DNA, we present a further simplified model of DNA (Model 2), which is a single-chained homopolymer with the propensity to writhe in the left direction upon bending. This simplified model is incorporated into a Langevin dynamics study to explore the origin of the uniform left-handed wrapping of DNA around a nucleosome core particle in nature. We finally show that the propensity of DNA to writhe in the left direction upon bending gives rise to the selective left-handed wrapping, provided that the size of the core particle is appropriate. This result suggests the fundamental significance of the asymmetric elasticity of helical biopolymers in their structural dynamics and functions.
KeywordsPolymer Science Series Core Particle Chiral Selectivity Free Energy Curve Equilibrium Conformation
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