Sharp melting of polymer-DNA hybrids: An associative phase separation approach

Alexander Kudlay*, Julianne M. Gibbs, George C. Schatz, Son Binh T. Nguyen, Monica Olvera De La Cruz

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


An associative equilibrium theory describing the sharp melting behavior of polymer-DNA hybrids is developed. The theory considers linear polymers with attached DNAs on each polymer that serve as "stickers" and with a two-state model governing the DNA melting equilibrium. For three or more oligonucleotides on each polymer, solutions of polymer-DNA hybrids are found to undergo phase separation at sufficiently low temperatures. The dense phase dissolves as temperature increases, which leads to a sharp increase in the fraction of non-hybridized DNA near the phase transition temperature, in agreement with experimental absorbance profiles at 260 nm. The melting temperature is predicted to have the same dependence on salt concentration as a solution of unattached DNAs and be weakly sensitive to the concentration of DNA in solution. The melting temperature is predicted to be higher than that of unattached DNA in solution, with the magnitude of the increase sensitive to the DNA hybridization cooperativity. The theoretical predictions are generally in good quantitative agreement with new experimental data (also presented here), which show the effect of the polymer-DNA hybrid length and salt concentration on the melting profiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1610-1619
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Physical Chemistry B
Issue number7
StatePublished - Feb 22 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Materials Chemistry
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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