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Slow closure of denaturation bubbles in DNA: Twist matters
, N. Destainville, J. Palmeri, M. Manghi
Published in
PMID: 23767562
Volume: 87
Issue: 5
The closure of long equilibrated denaturation bubbles in DNA is studied using Brownian dynamics simulations. A minimal mesoscopic model is used where the double helix is made of two interacting bead-spring freely rotating strands, with a nonzero torsional modulus in the duplex state, κφ= 200 to 300kBT. For DNAs of lengths N=40 to 100 base pairs (bps) with a large initial bubble in their middle, long closure times of 0.1 to 100μs are found. The bubble starts winding from both ends until it reaches a ≈10 bp metastable state due to the large elastic energy stored in the bubble. The final closure is limited by three competing mechanisms depending on κφ and N: arms diffusion until their alignment, bubble diffusion along the DNA until one end is reached, or local Kramers process (crossing over a torsional energy barrier). For clamped ends or long DNAs, the closure occurs via this last temperature-activated mechanism, yielding a good quantitative agreement with the experiments. © 2013 American Physical Society.
About the journal
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics