Torque and buckling in stretched intertwined double-helix DNAs

Sumitabha Brahmachari, John F. Marko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


We present a statistical-mechanical model for the behavior of intertwined DNAs, with a focus on their torque and extension as a function of their catenation (linking) number and applied force, as studied in magnetic tweezers experiments. Our model produces results in good agreement with available experimental data and predicts a catenation-dependent effective twist modulus distinct from what is observed for twisted individual double-helix DNAs. We find that buckling occurs near the point where experiments have observed a kink in the extension versus linking number, and that the subsequent "supercoiled braid" state corresponds to a proliferation of multiple small plectoneme structures. We predict a discontinuity in extension at the buckling transition corresponding to nucleation of the first plectoneme domain. We also find that buckling occurs for lower linking number at lower salt; the opposite trend is observed for supercoiled single DNAs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number052401
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2017

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability
  • Condensed Matter Physics


Dive into the research topics of 'Torque and buckling in stretched intertwined double-helix DNAs'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this