Despite their importance in biology and use in nanotechnology, the elastic behavior of nucleic acids on "ultrashort" (<15 nt) length scales remains poorly understood. Here, we use optical tweezers combined with fluorescence imaging to observe directly the hybridization of oligonucleotides (7-12 nt) to a complementary strand under tension and to measure the difference in end-to-end extension between the single-stranded and duplex states. Data are consistent with long-polymer models at low forces (<8 pN) but smaller than predicted at higher forces (>8 pN), the result of the sequence-dependent duplex edge effects.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)