Europhys. Lett.
Volume 65, Number 4, February 2004
Page(s) 574 - 580
Section Interdisciplinary physics and related areas of science and technology
Published online 01 February 2004
Europhys. Lett., 65 (4) , pp. 574-580 (2004)
DOI: 10.1209/epl/i2003-10107-2

Helicase activity on DNA as a propagating front

S. M. Bhattacharjee

Institute of Physics - Bhubaneswar 751 005, India

(Received 16 July 2003; accepted in final form 27 November 2003)

We develop a propagating-front analysis, in terms of a local probability of zipping, for the helicase activity of opening up a double-stranded DNA (dsDNA). In a fixed-distance ensemble (conjugate to the fixed-force ensemble), the front separates the zipped and unzipped phases of a dsDNA and a drive acts locally around the front. Bounds from variational analysis and numerical estimates for the speed of a helicase are obtained. Different types of helicase behaviours can be distinguished by the nature of the drive.

87.14.Gg - DNA, RNA.
87.15.He - Dynamics and conformational changes.
82.37.Rs - Single molecule manipulation of proteins and other biological molecules.

© EDP Sciences 2004