2-7 June 2019
Simon Fraser University
America/Vancouver timezone
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Orientationally ordered states of a wormlike chain inside spherical confinement

Jun 4, 2019, 3:45 PM
ASB 10900 (Simon Fraser University)

ASB 10900

Simon Fraser University

Oral (Non-Student) / Orale (non-étudiant(e)) Symposia Day - Soft Matter Canada 2019 T4-1 Soft Matter PM-2 (DCMMP) | Matière molle PM-2 (DPMCM)


Jeff Z. Y. Chen (University of Waterloo)


One of the basic characteristics of linear dsDNA molecules is its persistence length, typically of order 50 nanometers. The DNA chain inflicts a large energy penalty if it is bent sharply at that length scale. Viruses of bacteria, known as bacteriophage, typically have a dimension of a few tens of nanometers, of similar order of the magnitude as the DNA persistence length. Yet, it is known that a bacteriophage actively packages viral DNA inside the capsid and ejects it afterwards. The packaging process works under some extreme physical conditions: reduction of the DNA overall conformational entropy, competition between the persistence length and the capsid's size, and the relatively crowded density inside a packaged capsid to accommodate a long DNA chain. Here, adopting a commonly used polymer model known as the wormlike chain, we answer an idealized question: placing a linear DNA molecule inside a spherical cavity, what ordered states can we drive from known tools in statistical physics? Solving the model in a rigorous field-theory framework, we report a universal phase diagram for four orientationally ordered and disordered states, in terms of two relevant physical parameters.

Primary author

Jeff Z. Y. Chen (University of Waterloo)

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