Chiral selection in supercoiling and wrapping of DNA

Tomohiro Yanao, Kenichi Yoshikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper gives an account of our recent studies on the mechanisms for chiral selection in super-coiling and wrapping of DNA. We first present a compact model of double-stranded DNA (Model 1), which consists of two elastic chains that mutually intertwine in a right-handed manner to form a double-stranded helix. Numerical analysis of this model suggests an intrinsic propensity of DNA to writhe in the left direction upon bending. Based on this asymmetric elasticity of DNA, we present a further simplified model of DNA (Model 2), which is a single-chained homopolymer with the propensity to writhe in the left direction upon bending. This simplified model is incorporated into a Langevin dynamics study to explore the origin of the uniform left-handed wrapping of DNA around a nucleosome core particle in nature. We finally show that the propensity of DNA to writhe in the left direction upon bending gives rise to the selective left-handed wrapping, provided that the size of the core particle is appropriate. This result suggests the fundamental significance of the asymmetric elasticity of helical biopolymers in their structural dynamics and functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-20
Number of pages10
JournalPolymer Science - Series C
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Sep 1


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Polymers and Plastics
  • Materials Chemistry

Cite this