Chiral symmetry breaking of a double-stranded helical chain through bend-writhe coupling

Tomohiro Yanao, Kenichi Yoshikawa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This paper explores asymmetric elasticity of a double-stranded helical chain, which serves as a minimal model of biopolymers. The model consists of two elastic chains that mutually intertwine in a right-handed manner, forming a double-stranded helix. A simple numerical experiment for structural relaxation, which reduces the total elastic energy of the model monotonically without thermal fluctuations, reveals possible asymmetric elasticity inherent in the helical chain. It is first shown that a short segment of the double-stranded helical chain has a tendency to unwind when it is bent. It is also shown that a short segment of the helical chain has a tendency to writhe in the left direction upon bending. This tendency gives rise to a propensity for a longer segment of the chain to form a left-handed superhelix spontaneously upon bending. Finally, this propensity of the helical chain to form a left-handed superhelix is proposed to be a possible origin of the uniform left-handed wrapping of DNA around nucleosome core particles in nature. The results presented here could provide deeper insights into the roles and significance of helical chirality of biopolymers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number062713
JournalPhysical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Volume89
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jun 26

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Chiral symmetry breaking of a double-stranded helical chain through bend-writhe coupling'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this