Direct measurement of the forces between complementary strands of DNA

Science  04 Nov 1994:
Vol. 266, Issue 5186, pp. 771-773
DOI: 10.1126/science.7973628


Interaction forces between single strands of DNA were measured with the atomic force microscope by a procedure in which DNA oligonucleotides were covalently attached to a spherical probe and surface. Adhesive forces measured between complementary 20-base strands fell into three distinct distributions centered at 1.52, 1.11, and 0.83 nano-newtons, which are associated with the rupture of the interchain interaction between a single pair of molecules involving 20, 16, and 12 base pairs, respectively. When a third long DNA molecule was coupled between complementary surfaces, both intra- and interchain forces were observed. The intrachain interaction resulting from the molecule's elasticity manifested itself as a long-range cohesive force.

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