Significance of bending restraints for the stability of helical polymer conformations

Phys Rev E. 2016 Jun;93(6):062501. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.93.062501. Epub 2016 Jun 13.


We performed parallel-tempering Monte Carlo simulations to investigate the formation and stability of helical tertiary structures for flexible and semiflexible polymers, employing a generic coarse-grained model. Structural conformations exhibit helical order with tertiary ordering into single helices, multiple helical segments organized into bundles, and disorganized helical arrangements. For both bending-restrained semiflexible and bending-unrestrained flexible helical polymers, the stability of the structural phases is discussed systematically by means of hyperphase diagrams parametrized by suitable order parameters, temperature, and torsion strength. This exploration lends insight into the restricted flexibility of biological polymers such as double-stranded DNA and proteins.

MeSH terms

  • DNA / chemistry
  • Models, Biological*
  • Molecular Conformation
  • Monte Carlo Method
  • Polymers / chemistry*
  • Proteins / chemistry
  • Temperature


  • Polymers
  • Proteins
  • DNA