Physics at Virginia

"Mechanics of strong DNA bending"

Harold Kim , Georgia Tech
[Host: Seunghun Lee]

Bending of double-stranded DNA plays an essential role in genome structure and function. However, the energetic cost of sharp DNA bending is difficult to determine. In this talk, I will explain how we study the energetics of sharp DNA bending using small DNA loops. Using single-molecule Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET), we measure the lifetime of a DNA loop as a function of loop size. Above a critical loop size, the loop lifetime changes with loop size in a manner consistent with elastic bending stress, but below it, becomes less sensitive to loop size, indicative of DNA softening. Our result is in quantitative agreement with the kinkable worm-like chain model. Time permitting, I will also present a new method to compute the equilibrium distribution of forces exerted by a semi-flexible polymer loop.

Condensed Matter Seminar
Thursday, February 12, 2015
3:30 PM
Physics Building, Room 204
Note special room.

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