Volume 85, Number 3, February 2009
Article Number 38005
Number of page(s) 6
Section Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology
Published online 13 February 2009
EPL, 85 (2009) 38005
DOI: 10.1209/0295-5075/85/38005

Statistics of confined polymers and the melting of a DNA spool

D. Marenduzzo

SUPA, School of Physics, University of Edinburgh - Edinburgh, EH9 3JZ, UK, EU

received 19 August 2008; accepted in final form 18 December 2008; published February 2009
published online 13 February 2009

Using Monte Carlo simulations, we analyse the statistical properties of a semiflexible polymer strongly confined in space into an ellipsoidal hull. We show evidence of a sharp crossover or of a phase transition, between ordered structures such as spools, and disordered ones, as a function of the persistence length of the chain. We discuss our results in relation to the packing of double-stranded DNA molecules inside bacteriophage capsids, a biological system which our results suggest is positioned close to the crossover/transition point.

87.15.B- - Structure of biomolecules.
87.14.gk - DNA. - Theory and modeling of specific liquid crystal transitions, including computer simulation.

© EPLA 2009