Single-Molecule Imaging Reveals Topology Dependent Mutual Relaxation of Polymer Chains

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The motion and relaxation of linear and cyclic polymers under entangled conditions are investigated by means of a newly developed single-molecule tracking technique, cumulative-area (CA) tracking. CA tracking enables simultaneous quantitative characterization of the diffusion mode, diffusion rate, and relaxation time that have been impossible with a widely used conventional single-molecule localization and tracking method, by analyzing cumulative areas occupied by the moving molecule. Using the novel approach, we investigate the motion and relaxation of entangled cyclic polymers, which have been an important but poorly understood question. Fluorescently labeled 42 kbp linear or cyclic tracer dsDNAs in concentrated solutions of unlabeled linear or cyclic DNAs are used as model systems. We show that CA tracking can explicitly distinguish topology-dependent diffusion mode, rate, and relaxation time, demonstrating that the method provides an invaluable tool for characterizing topological interaction between the entangled chains. We further demonstrate that the current models proposed for the entanglement between cyclic polymers which are based on cyclic chains moving through an array of fixed obstacles cannot correctly describe the motion of the cyclic chain under the entangled conditions. Our results rather suggest the mutual relaxation of the cyclic chains, which underscore the necessity of developing a new model to describe the motion of cyclic polymer under the entangled conditions based on the mutual interaction of the chains.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6263-6271
Number of pages9
Issue number17
StatePublished - Aug 24 2015

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KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01


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