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Monday, March 05, 2007
3:00 PM - 4:00 PM
CNLS Conference Room (TA-3, Bldg 1690)

Colloquium

DNA Knots Reveal Chiral Packing of DNA in Phage Capsids

De Witt Sumners
Florida State University

Bacteriophages are viruses that infect bacteria. They pack their double-stranded DNA genomes to near-crystalline density in viral capsids and achieve one of the highest levels of DNA condensation found in nature. Despite numerous studies some essential properties of the packaging geometry of the DNA inside the phage capsid are still unknown. Although viral DNA is linear double-stranded with sticky ends, the linear viral DNA quickly becomes cyclic when removed from the capsid, and for some viral DNA the observed knot probability is an astounding 95%. This talk will discuss comparison of the observed viral knot spectrum with the Monte Carlo simulated knot spectrum, concluding that the packing geometry of the DNA inside the capsid is non-random and writhe-directed.

Host: Cory Hauck, LANL/CCS-2/CNLS