• C. Micheletti and E. Orlandini
    Knotting and unknotting dynamics of DNA strands in nanochannels
    ACS Macro Letters, 2014, 3 , 876-880
    Link to online article

  • Abstract
    The self-knotting dynamics of DNA strands confined in nanochannels is studied with Brownian simulations. The model DNA chains are several microns long and placed inside channels that are 50-300 nm wide. This width range covers the transition between different metric scaling regimes and the concomitant drop of DNA knotting probability for channel widths below ~75 nm. We find that knots typically originate from deep looping and backfoldings of the chain ends. Upon lowering the channel width, backfoldings become shallower and rarer and the lifetime of knots decreases while that of unknots increases. This lifetimes interplay causes the dramatic reduction of knots incidence for increasing confinement. The results can aid the design of nanochannels capable of harnessing the self-knotting dynamics to quench or relax the DNA topological state as desired.