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Ejection dynamics of polymeric chains from viral capsids: Effect of solvent quality

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4159-4164
Number of pages6
JournalBiophysical Journal
Volume94
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2008

Abstract

We present simulations investigating the effects of solvent quality on the dynamics of flexible (RNA-like) and semi flexible (DNA-like) polymers ejecting from spherical viral capsids. We find that the mean ejection time increases and the ejection time distributions are broadened as the solvent quality decreases. Our results thus suggest that DNA ejection may be very efficiently controlled by tuning the salt concentration in the environment, in agreement with recent experimental findings. We also observe random pauses in the ejection. These become extremely long for semi flexible polymers at lower solvent quality, and we interpret this as a signature of a low driving force for ejection. We find that, for most polymers, ejection is an all-or-nothing process at the solvent conditions we investigated: polymers normally completely eject once the process is initiated.

    Research areas

  • DNA EJECTION, PHAGE, BACTERIOPHAGE, MOTOR, MODEL

ID: 1452840