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Coexistence of coil and globule domains within a single confined DNA chain.


ABSTRACT: The highly charged DNA chain may be either in an extended conformation, the coil, or condensed into a highly dense and ordered structure, the toroid. The transition, also called collapse of the chain, can be triggered in different ways, for example by changing the ionic conditions of the solution. We observe individual DNA molecules one by one, kept separated and confined inside a protein shell (the envelope of a bacterial virus, 80 nm in diameter). For subcritical concentrations of spermine (4+), part of the DNA is condensed and organized in a toroid and the other part of the chain remains uncondensed around. Two states coexist along the same DNA chain. These 'hairy' globules are imaged by cryo-electron microscopy. We describe the global conformation of the chain and the local ordering of DNA segments inside the toroid.

SUBMITTER: Sung B 

PROVIDER: S-EPMC4756835 | BioStudies | 2016-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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