Volume 82, Number 2, April 2008
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology|
|Published online||20 March 2008|
Discrete elastic model for stretching-induced flagellar polymorphs
Physics Department, Technical University Munich - 85748 Garching, Germany, EU
2 Yukawa Institute for Theoretical Physics, Kyoto Universiy - Kyoto, 606-8502, Japan
Corresponding author: email@example.com
Accepted: 19 February 2008
Force-induced reversible transformations between coiled and normal polymorphs of bacterial flagella have been observed in recent optical-tweezer experiment. We introduce a discrete elastic rod model with two competing helical states governed by a fluctuating spin-like variable that represents the underlying conformational states of flagellin monomers. Using hybrid Brownian dynamics Monte Carlo simulations, we show that a helix undergoes shape transitions dominated by domain wall nucleation and motion in response to externally applied uniaxial tension. A scaling argument for the critical force is presented in good agreement with experimental and simulation results. Stretching-rate-dependent elasticity including a buckling instability are found, also consistent with the experiment.
PACS: 87.16.Ka – Filaments, microtubules, their networks, and supermolecular assemblies / 87.15.-v – Biomolecules: structure and physical properties / 64.70.Nd – Structural transitions in nanoscale materials
© EPLA, 2008
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