Elastic energy driven polymerization

Biophys J. 2009 Mar 18;96(6):2344-52. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2008.11.065.


We present a molecular system where polymerization is controlled externally by tuning the elastic energy of the monomers. The elastic energy, provided by a DNA molecular spring, destabilizes the monomer state through a process analogous to domain swapping. This energy can be large (of approximately 10 kT) and thus drive polymerization at relatively low monomer concentrations. The monomer-dimer equilibrium provides a measurement of the elastic energy of the monomer, which in this construction appears limited by kink formation in the DNA molecular spring, in accord with previous theoretical and experimental investigations of the elasticity of sharply bent DNA.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Algorithms
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA / metabolism
  • Dimerization
  • Elasticity
  • Electrophoresis, Polyacrylamide Gel
  • Guanylate Kinases / chemistry*
  • Guanylate Kinases / genetics
  • Guanylate Kinases / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular*
  • Mutagenesis, Site-Directed
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis
  • Protein Binding
  • Thermodynamics


  • DNA
  • Guanylate Kinases