Topological defects and the optimum size of DNA condensates

Stella Y. Park*, Daniel Harries, William M. Gelbart

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

74 Scopus citations


Under a wide variety of conditions, the addition of condensing agents to dilute solutions of random-coil DNA gives rise to highly compact particles that are toroidal in shape. The size of these condensates is remarkably constant and is largely independent of DNA molecular weight and basepair sequence, and of the nature of condensing agent (e.g., multivalent cation, polymers, or added cosolvent). We show how this optimum size is determined by the interactions between topological defects, which unavoidably strain the circumferentially wound DNA strands in the torus.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)714-720
Number of pages7
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1998


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