Tuning DNA "strings": Modulating the rate of DNA replication with mechanical tension

Anita Goel, Maxim D. Frank-Kamenetskii, Tom Ellenberger, Dudley Herschbach

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Recent experiments have measured the rate of replication of DNA catalyzed by a single enzyme moving along a stretched template strand, The dependence on tension was interpreted as evidence that T7 and related DNA polymerases convert two (n = 2) or more single-stranded template bases to double helix geometry in the polymerization site during each catalytic cycle. However, we find structural data on the T7 enzyme-template complex indicate n = 1. We also present a model for the "tuning" of replication rate by mechanical tension. This model considers only local interactions in the neighborhood of the enzyme, unlike previous models that use stretching curves for the entire polymer chain. Our results, with n = 1, reconcile force-dependent replication rate studies with structural data on DNA polymerase complexes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8485-8489
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number15
StatePublished - Jul 17 2001


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