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DNA as a one-dimensional chiral material: Application to the structural transition between B form and Z form

By Teruaki Okushima and Hiroshi Kuratsuji


A dynamical model is presented for chiral change in DNA molecules. The model is an extension of the conventional elastic model which incorporates the structure of base pairs and uses a spinor representation for the DNA configuration together with a gauge principle. Motivated by a recent experiment reporting chiral transitions between right-handed B-DNA and left-handed Z-DNA [M. Lee, et. al., Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. (USA) 107, 4985 (2010)], we analyze the free energy for the particular case of linear DNA with an externally applied torque. The model shows that there exists, at low temperature, a rapid structural change depending on the torque exerted on the DNA, which causes switching in B and Z domain sizes. This can explain the frequent switches of DNA extension observed in experiments.Comment: 7 pages, 5 figure

Topics: Physics - Biological Physics, Condensed Matter - Statistical Mechanics, Quantitative Biology - Biomolecules
Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1103/PhysRevE.84.021926
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