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

    Fingerprint

    Writhe
    Chiral Symmetry
    Symmetry Breaking
    broken symmetry
    Left handed
    Biopolymers
    tendencies
    biopolymers
    Elasticity
    elastic properties
    Right handed
    Chirality
    Minimal Model
    Helix
    chirality
    helices
    deoxyribonucleic acid
    Numerical Experiment
    Fluctuations

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

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

    Cite this

    Chiral symmetry breaking of a double-stranded helical chain through bend-writhe coupling. / Yanao, Tomohiro; Yoshikawa, Kenichi.

    In: Physical Review E - Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics, Vol. 89, No. 6, 062713, 26.06.2014.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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