Kinky DNA in solution: Small-angle-scattering study of a nucleosome positioning sequence

Abstract : DNA is a flexible molecule, but the degree of its flexibility is subject to debate. The commonly-accepted persistence length of l p ≈ 500 Å is inconsistent with recent studies on short-chain DNA that show much greater flexibility but do not probe its origin. We have performed x-ray and neutron small-angle scattering on a short DNA sequence containing a strong nucleosome positioning element and analyzed the results using a modified Kratky-Porod model to determine possible conformations. Our results support a hypothesis from Crick and Klug in 1975 that some DNA sequences in solution can have sharp kinks, potentially resolving the discrepancy. Our conclusions are supported by measurements on a radiation-damaged sample, where single-strand breaks lead to increased flexibility and by an analysis of data from another sequence, which does not have kinks, but where our method can detect a locally enhanced flexibility due to an AT domain.
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Torben Schindler, Adrián González, Ramachandran Boopathi, Marta Roda, Lorena Romero-Santacreu, et al.. Kinky DNA in solution: Small-angle-scattering study of a nucleosome positioning sequence. Physical Review E , American Physical Society (APS), 2018, 98 (4), pp.042417. ⟨10.1103/physreve.98.042417⟩. ⟨ensl-01910577⟩

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