Spontaneous Domain Formation in Spherically-Confined Elastic Filaments

30 Jun 2019  ·  Curk Tine, Farrell James Daniel, Dobnikar Jure, Podgornik Rudolf ·

Although the free energy of a genome packing into a virus is dominated by DNA-DNA interactions, ordering of the DNA inside the capsid is elasticity-driven, suggesting general solutions with DNA organized into spool-like domains. Using analytical calculations and computer simulations of a long elastic filament confined to a spherical container, we show that the ground state is not a single spool as assumed hitherto, but an ordering mosaic of multiple homogeneously-ordered domains... At low densities, we observe concentric spools, while at higher densities, other morphologies emerge, which resemble topological links. We discuss our results in the context of metallic wires, viral DNA, and flexible polymers. read more

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Soft Condensed Matter