Polymer induced condensation of DNA supercoils

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Bessa Ramos, Jose Esio [UNESP]
Ruggiero Neto, Joao [UNESP]
de Vries, Renko

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American Institute of Physics (AIP)


Macromolecular crowding is thought to be a significant factor driving DNA condensation in prokaryotic cells. Whereas DNA in prokaryotes is supercoiled, studies on crowding-induced DNA condensation have so far focused on linear DNA. Here we compare DNA condensation by poly(ethylene oxide) for supercoiled and linearized pUC18 plasmid DNA. It is found that supercoiling has only a limited influence on the critical amount of PEO needed to condense plasmid DNA. In order to pack DNA supercoils in condensates, it seems inevitable that they must be deformed in one way or another, to facilitate dense packing of DNA. Analytical estimates and Monte Carlo simulations indicate that packing of DNA supercoils in condensates is most likely facilitated by a decrease of the superhelical diameter rather than by unwinding of the supercoils.



aggregation, biochemistry, cellular biophysics, DNA, Molecular biophysics, molecular configurations, Monte Carlo methods, Polymers

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Journal of Chemical Physics. Melville: Amer Inst Physics, v. 129, n. 18, p. 6, 2008.