Volume 100, Number 2, October 2012
|Number of page(s)||6|
|Section||Interdisciplinary Physics and Related Areas of Science and Technology|
|Published online||29 October 2012|
Helices at interfaces
1 Institut Charles Sadron, CNRS - 23 rue du Loess, 67034 Strasbourg cedex 2, France, EU
2 Institute of Fundamental Physics, Department of Physics, Sejong University - Seoul 143-743, Korea
3 Groupe BioPhysStat, Université de Lorraine - 57078 Metz, France, EU
Received: 22 June 2012
Accepted: 18 September 2012
Helically coiled filaments are a frequent motif in nature. In situations commonly encountered in experiments coiled helices are squeezed flat onto two-dimensional surfaces. Under such 2-d confinement helices form “squeelices” —peculiar squeezed conformations often resembling looped waves, spirals or circles. Using theory and Monte Carlo simulations we investigate the mechanics and the unusual statistical mechanics of confined helices and show that their fluctuations can be understood in terms of moving and interacting discrete particle-like entities —the “twist kinks”. We show that confined filaments can thermally switch between discrete topological twist quantized states, with some of the states exhibiting dramatically enhanced cyclisation probability while others displaying surprising hyperflexibility.
PACS: 82.35.Pq – Biopolymers, biopolymerization / 87.16.Ka – Filaments, microtubules, their networks, and supramolecular assemblies
© EPLA, 2012
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