Stretching of macromolecules and proteins

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

REPORTS ON PROGRESS IN PHYSICS, IOP PUBLISHING LTD, Volume 66, Number 1, DIRAC HOUSE, TEMPLE BACK, BRISTOL BS1 6BE, ENGLAND, p.1-45 (2003)

Keywords:

ATOMIC-FORCE MICROSCOPY; COMPLEMENTARY STRANDS; CONFORMATIONAL FLUCTUATIONS; DOUBLE HELIX; DOUBLE-STRANDED DNA; ENTROPIC ELASTICITY; PICONEWTON FORCES; SINGLE-MOLECULE; STRUCTURAL TRANSITIONS; SUPERCOILED DNA

Abstract:

In this paper we review the biophysics revealed by stretching single biopolymers. During the last decade various techniques have emerged allowing micromanipulation of single molecules and simultaneous measurements of their elasticity. Using such techniques, it has been possible to investigate some of the interactions playing a role in biology. We shall first review the simplest case of a non-interacting polymer and then present the structural transitions in DNA, RNA and proteins that have been studied by single-molecule techniques. We shall explain how these techniques permit a new approach to the protein folding/unfolding transition.