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This content will become publicly available on March 3, 2024

Title: Weak tension accelerates hybridization and dehybridization of short oligonucleotides
Abstract The hybridization and dehybridization of DNA subject to tension is relevant to fundamental genetic processes and to the design of DNA-based mechanobiology assays. While strong tension accelerates DNA melting and decelerates DNA annealing, the effects of tension weaker than 5 pN are less clear. In this study, we developed a DNA bow assay, which uses the bending rigidity of double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) to exert weak tension on a single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) target in the range of 2–6 pN. Combining this assay with single-molecule FRET, we measured the hybridization and dehybridization kinetics between a 15 nt ssDNA under tension and a 8–9  nt oligonucleotide, and found that both the hybridization and dehybridization rates monotonically increase with tension for various nucleotide sequences tested. These findings suggest that the nucleated duplex in its transition state is more extended than the pure dsDNA or ssDNA counterpart. Based on coarse-grained oxDNA simulations, we propose that this increased extension of the transition state is due to steric repulsion between the unpaired ssDNA segments in close proximity to one another. Using linear force-extension relations verified by simulations of short DNA segments, we derived analytical equations for force-to-rate conversion that are in good agreement with our measurements.  more » « less
Award ID(s):
1806833
NSF-PAR ID:
10459158
Author(s) / Creator(s):
; ; ;
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Nucleic Acids Research
Volume:
51
Issue:
7
ISSN:
0305-1048
Page Range / eLocation ID:
3030 to 3040
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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