Twisting DNA: single molecule studies

Publication Type:

Journal Article

Source:

CONTEMPORARY PHYSICS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, Volume 45, Number 5, 4 PARK SQUARE, MILTON PARK, ABINGDON OX14 4RN, OXON, ENGLAND, p.383-403 (2004)

DOI:

10.1080/00107510410001697279

Keywords:

CHAIN; DEPENDENCE; ENTROPIC ELASTICITY; EXTENSION; FLUCTUATIONS; FORCE SPECTROSCOPY; STRUCTURAL TRANSITIONS; SUPERCOILED DNA; TORSIONAL RIGIDITY; TWEEZERS

Abstract:

Over the past 10 years a number of new techniques have emerged that allow the manipulation of single DNA molecules and other biopolymers (RNA, proteins, etc.). These experiments have permitted the measurement of the DNA stretching and twisting elasticity and have consequently revealed the essential role played by the DNA mechanical properties in its interactions with proteins. We shall first describe the different methods used to stretch and twist single DNA molecules. We will then focus on its behaviour under torsion, especially by discussing the different methods used to estimate its torsional modulus.