To the understanding of phase diagram of DNA double helix unzipping

  • S. N. Volkov Bogolyubov Institute for Theoretical Physics
  • A. V. Solov'yov Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies
Keywords: DNA macromolecule, mechanical melting, double helix unzipping, DNA metastable states


Interpretation of phase diagram (temperature-force) of the mechanical melting of the DNA double helix in the temperature range from 15 to 50oC is suggested. The double helix unzipping is modeled taking into account the probable pathway of the separation of the mechanical strands under external force, the formation of metastable states of the base pairs in DNA at high temperature, and the possibility of the macromolecule transition to the condensed state at low temperature. It is shown that the DNA unzipping in the different temperature intervals may be considered as a first-order phase transition induced by an applied force. The expression for the critical force is obtained and the dependence of force on temperature is calculated. A reasonable agreement of our theory with the experiment is reported for the temperature range of 24-35oC. Possible reasons for the origin of plateaus above 35oC and below 24oC are suggested.


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Author Biographies

S. N. Volkov, Bogolyubov Institute for Theoretical Physics

14-b, Metrologichna Str., Kiev, 03680, Ukraine

A. V. Solov'yov, Frankfurt Institute for Advanced Studies

1, Max-von-Laue Str., 60438 , Frankfurt am Main, Germany


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How to Cite
Volkov, S. N., & Solov’yov, A. V. (2007). To the understanding of phase diagram of DNA double helix unzipping. Biophysical Bulletin, 2(19), 5-12. Retrieved from