Recent work indicates that twist-bend coupling plays an important role in DNA micromechanics. Here we investigate its effect on bent DNA. We provide an analytical solution of the minimum-energy shape of circular DNA, showing that twist-bend coupling induces sinusoidal twist waves. This solution is in excellent agreement with both coarse-grained simulations of minicircles and nucleosomal DNA data, which is bent and wrapped around histone proteins in a superhelical conformation. Our analysis shows that the observed twist oscillation in nucleosomal DNA, so far attributed to the interaction with the histone proteins, is an intrinsic feature of free bent DNA, and should be observable in other protein-DNA complexes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)