A simple model for DNA denaturation
CEA, Service de Physique Théorique - 91191 Gif-sur-Yvette, Cedex, France
2 Institute for Theoretical Physics, University of California at Santa Barbara Santa Barbara, CA 93106, USA
Accepted: 26 April 2001
Following Poland and Scheraga, we consider a simplified model for the denaturation transition of DNA. The two strands are modeled as interacting polymer chains. The attractive interactions, which mimic the pairing between the four bases, are reduced to a single short-range binding term. Furthermore, base-pair misalignments are forbidden, implying that this binding term exists only for corresponding (same curvilinear abscissae) monomers of the two chains. We take into account the excluded-volume repulsion between monomers of the two chains, but neglect intrachain repulsion. We find that the excluded-volume term generates an effective repulsive interaction between the chains, which decays as . Due to this long-range repulsion between the chains, the denaturation transition is first order in any dimension, in agreement with previous studies.
PACS: 87.14.Gg – DNA, RNA / 05.70.Fh – Phase transitions: general studies / 64.10.+h – General theory of equations of state and phase equilibria
© EDP Sciences, 2001