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Eur Phys J E Soft Matter. 2002 Aug;8(5):539-47.

Networks of helix-forming polymers.

Author information

1
Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, Madingley Road, Cambridge CB3 0HE, UK. kutter@cantab.net

Abstract

Biological molecules can form hydrogen bonds between nearby residues, leading to helical secondary structures. The associated reduction of configurational entropy leads to a temperature dependence of this effect: the helix-coil transition. Since the formation of helices implies a dramatic shortening of the polymer dimensions, an externally imposed end-to-end distance R affects the equilibrium helical fraction of the polymer and the resulting force-extension curves show anomalous plateau regimes. In this article, we investigate the behaviour of a crosslinked network of such helicogenic molecules, particularly focusing on the coupling of the (average) helical content present in a network to the externally imposed strain. We show that both elongation and compression can lead to an increase in helical domains under appropriate conditions.

PMID:
15015126
DOI:
10.1140/epje/i2002-10044-x
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