Rapid internal contraction boosts DNA friction

Oliver Otto, Sebastian Sturm, Nadanai Laohakunakorn, Ulrich F. Keyser*, Klaus Kroy

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Macroscopic objects are usually manipulated by force and observed with light. On the nanoscale, however, this is often done oppositely: individual macromolecules are manipulated by light and monitored with force. This procedure, which is the basis of single-molecule force spectroscopy, has led to much of our quantitative understanding of how DNA works, and is now routinely applied to explore molecular structure and interactions, DNA-protein reactions and protein folding. Here we develop the technique further by introducing a dynamic force spectroscopy set-up for a non-invasive inspection of the tension dynamics in a taut strand of DNA. The internal contraction after a sudden release of the molecule is shown to give rise to a drastically enhanced viscous friction, as revealed by the slow relaxation of an attached colloidal tracer. Our systematic theory explains the data quantitatively and provides a powerful tool for the rational design of new dynamic force spectroscopy assays.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1780
JournalNature Communications
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2013


Dive into the research topics of 'Rapid internal contraction boosts DNA friction'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this