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The Dynamics and Energy Landscape of DNA Plectoneme Nucleation

By Philipp U. Walker, Willem Vanderlinden, Jan Lipfert

Posted 13 Mar 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/280719 (published DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevE.98.042412)

DNA buckling is the fundamental step for plectoneme nucleation and supercoil dynamics that are critical in the processing of genetic information. Here we systematically quantify DNA buckling dynamics using high-speed magnetic tweezers. Buckling times are ~10-100 ms and depend exponentially on both applied force and twist. By deconvolving measured time traces with the instrument response, we reconstruct full 2D extension-twist energy landscapes of the buckling transition that reveal an asymmetry between the pre- and post-buckling states and suggest a highly bend transition state conformation.

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