DNA cyclization is a powerful technique to gain insight into the nature of DNA bending. While the wormlike chain model provides a good description of small to moderate bending fluctuations, it is expected to break down for large bending. Recent cyclization experiments on strongly bent shorter molecules indeed suggest enhanced flexibility over and above that expected from the wormlike chain. Here, we use a coarse-grained model of DNA to investigate the subtle thermodynamics of DNA cyclization for molecules ranging from 30 to 210 base pairs. As the molecules get shorter, we find increasing deviations between our computed equilibrium j-factor and the classic wormlike chain predictions of Shimada and Yamakawa for a torsionally aligned looped molecule. These deviations are due to sharp kinking, first at nicks, and only subsequently in the body of the duplex. At the shortest lengths, substantial fraying at the ends of duplex domains is the dominant method of relaxation. We also estimate the dynamic j-factor measured in recent FRET experiments. We find that the dynamic j-factor is systematically larger than its equilibrium counterpart - with the deviation larger for shorter molecules - because not all the stress present in the fully cyclized state is present in the transition state. These observations are important for the interpretation of recent cyclization experiments, suggesting that measured anomalously high j-factors may not necessarily indicate non-WLC behavior in the body of duplexes.

Identifying Physical Causes of Apparent Enhanced Cyclization of Short DNA Molecules with a Coarse-Grained Model

Romano F.;
2019

Abstract

DNA cyclization is a powerful technique to gain insight into the nature of DNA bending. While the wormlike chain model provides a good description of small to moderate bending fluctuations, it is expected to break down for large bending. Recent cyclization experiments on strongly bent shorter molecules indeed suggest enhanced flexibility over and above that expected from the wormlike chain. Here, we use a coarse-grained model of DNA to investigate the subtle thermodynamics of DNA cyclization for molecules ranging from 30 to 210 base pairs. As the molecules get shorter, we find increasing deviations between our computed equilibrium j-factor and the classic wormlike chain predictions of Shimada and Yamakawa for a torsionally aligned looped molecule. These deviations are due to sharp kinking, first at nicks, and only subsequently in the body of the duplex. At the shortest lengths, substantial fraying at the ends of duplex domains is the dominant method of relaxation. We also estimate the dynamic j-factor measured in recent FRET experiments. We find that the dynamic j-factor is systematically larger than its equilibrium counterpart - with the deviation larger for shorter molecules - because not all the stress present in the fully cyclized state is present in the transition state. These observations are important for the interpretation of recent cyclization experiments, suggesting that measured anomalously high j-factors may not necessarily indicate non-WLC behavior in the body of duplexes.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
acs.jctc.9b00112.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Versione dell'editore
Licenza: Creative commons
Dimensione 2.31 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
2.31 MB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in ARCA sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/10278/3718918
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 15
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 15
social impact