Issue 14, 2023

Force-dependent elasticity of nucleic acids


The functioning of double-stranded (ds) nucleic acids (NAs) in cellular processes is strongly mediated by their elastic response. These processes involve proteins that interact with dsDNA or dsRNA and distort their structures. The perturbation of the elasticity of NAs arising from these deformations is not properly considered by most theoretical frameworks. In this work, we introduce a novel method to assess the impact of mechanical stress on the elastic response of dsDNA and dsRNA through the analysis of the fluctuations of the double helix. Application of this approach to atomistic simulations reveals qualitative differences in the force dependence of the mechanical properties of dsDNA with respect to those of dsRNA, which we relate to structural features of these molecules by means of physically-sound minimalistic models.

Graphical abstract: Force-dependent elasticity of nucleic acids

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
11 Nov 2022
13 Mar 2023
First published
16 Mar 2023
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

Nanoscale, 2023,15, 6738-6744

Force-dependent elasticity of nucleic acids

J. Luengo-Márquez, J. Zalvide-Pombo, R. Pérez and S. Assenza, Nanoscale, 2023, 15, 6738 DOI: 10.1039/D2NR06324G

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