Ultrashort Nucleic Acid Duplexes Exhibit Long Wormlike Chain Behavior with Force-Dependent Edge Effects

Kevin D. Whitley, Matthew J. Comstock, Yann R. Chemla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number068102
JournalPhysical review letters
Volume120
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 9 2018

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)

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