Processes of DNA condensation induced by multivalent cations: Approximate annealing experiments and molecular dynamics simulations

AH Chai and SY Ran and D Zhang and YW Jiang and GC Yang and LX Zhang, CHINESE PHYSICS B, 22, 098701 (2013).

DOI: 10.1088/1674-1056/22/9/098701

The condensation of DNA induced by spermine is studied by atomic force microscopy (AFM) and molecular dynamics (MD) simulation in this paper. In our experiments, an equivalent amount of multivalent cations is added to the DNA solutions in different numbers of steps, and we find that the process of DNA condensation strongly depends on the speed of adding cations. That is, the slower the spermine cations are added, the slower the DNA aggregates. The MD and steered molecular dynamics (SMD) simulation results agree well with the experimental results, and the simulation data also show that the more steps of adding multivalent cations there are, the more compact the condensed DNA structure will be. This investigation can help us to control DNA condensation and understand the complicated structures of DNA-cation complexes.

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