Electrostatic attraction between cationic-anionic assemblies with surface compositional heterogeneities

Y. S. Velichko*, M. Olvera De La Cruz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Electrostatics play a key role in biomolecular assembly. Oppositely charged biomolecules, for instance, can be coassembled into functional units, such as DNA and histone proteins into nucleosomes and actin-binding protein complexes into cytoskeleton components, at appropriate ionic conditions. These cationic-anionic coassemblies often have surface charge heterogeneities that result from the delicate balance between electrostatics and packing constraints. Despite their importance, the precise role of surface charge heterogeneities in the organization of cationic-anionic coassemblies is not well understood. We show here that coassemblies with charge heterogeneities strongly interact through polarization of the domains. We find that this leads to symmetry breaking, which is important for functional capabilities, and structural changes, which is crucial in the organization of coassemblies. We determine the range and strength of the attraction as a function of the competition between the steric and hydrophobic constraints and electrostatic interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number214705
JournalJournal of Chemical Physics
Issue number21
StatePublished - Jun 7 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


Dive into the research topics of 'Electrostatic attraction between cationic-anionic assemblies with surface compositional heterogeneities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this