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Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2010 Mar;81(3 Pt 1):031802. Epub 2010 Mar 22.

Stretching weakly bending filaments with spontaneous curvature in two dimensions.

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Cavendish Laboratory, University of Cambridge, JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0HE, United Kingdom.


Some important biomolecules (for instance, bacterial FtsZ and eukaryotic DNA) are known to posses spontaneous (intrinsic) curvature. Using a simple extension of the wormlike chain model, we study the response of a weakly bending filament in two dimensions to a pulling force applied at its ends (a configuration common in classical in-vitro experiments and relevant to several in-vivo cell cases). The spontaneous curvature of such a chain or filament can in general be arc-length dependent and we study a case of sinusoidal variation, from which an arbitrary case can be reconstructed via Fourier transformation. We obtain analytic results for the force-extension relationship and the width of transverse fluctuations. We show that spontaneous-curvature undulations can affect the force-extension behavior even in relatively flexible filaments with a persistence length smaller than the contour length.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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