Electrostatics of DNA compaction in viruses, bacteria and eukaryotes: functional insights and evolutionary perspective

Carrivain, Pascal and Cournac, Axel and Lavelle, Christophe and Lesne, Annick and Mozziconacci, Julien and Paillusson, Fabien and Signon, Laurence and Victor, Jean-Marc and Barbi, Maria (2012) Electrostatics of DNA compaction in viruses, bacteria and eukaryotes: functional insights and evolutionary perspective. Soft Matter, 8 (36). p. 9285. ISSN 1744-683X

Full content URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1039/C2SM25789K

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Electrostatics of DNA compaction in viruses, bacteria and eukaryotes: functional insights and evolutionary perspective

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Abstract

The molecular support of genetic information, DNA, has to be packaged and organized inside the tiny volume of nuclei, cells, or virus capsids, in an ordered and dynamical way. Evolution has favored different strategies in different kingdoms: a liquid crystal ordering mechanism prevails in viruses; strong entanglement due to supercoiling is the main compacting strategy in bacteria; the building of a hierarchical and tunable architecture mediated by DNA–protein interaction constitutes the main compacting mechanism in archaea and eukaryotes. The interplay between these different strategies is however much more complex than at first sight and all these strategies can be used in a synergistic way. All of them have to deal with the same elementary physical constraint which hinders compaction: electrostatic repulsion due to the high line charge density of DNA. In this review, we will show how this apparent weakness can be turned into a strength in order to compact this long molecule in a functional way.

Keywords:DNA, Electrostatics, Biology
Subjects:F Physical Sciences > F170 Physical Chemistry
C Biological Sciences > C700 Molecular Biology, Biophysics and Biochemistry
C Biological Sciences > C100 Biology
Divisions:College of Science > School of Mathematics and Physics
ID Code:17977
Deposited On:11 Sep 2015 10:37

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