How DNA packages itself into finite bundles of a well-defined size

Ha, Bae-Yeun
February 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 501 Issue 1, p137
Academic Journal
Stiff biopolymer chains such as DNA can attract each other in solution even though they have the same sign of charge. The attractions are mediated by multivalent counterions. At the two-chain level, counterion-mediated interactions lead to a short-ranged attraction and a long-ranged repulsion. However, the inter-chain interactions are not pairwise additive and lead to macroscopic phase separation in equilibrium. The unique kinetics of domain (bundle) growth in this system, however, prevent it from reaching equilibrium. There exists an energy barrier to bundle growth that increases linearly with the bundle diameter, which should lead to metastable bundles of fairly well-defined size. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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