Probing DNA and RNA single molecules with a double optical tweezer
A double-tweezer setup is used to induce mechanical stress in systems of molecular biology. A double strand of DNA is first stretched and the data is compared to precedent experiments to check the experimental setup. Then a short foldable fragment of RNA is probed; the typical unfolding/refolding hysteresis behaviour of this kind of construction is shown and followed by a study of its elasticity and a comparison to a worm-like chain model. Eventually, we describe the unfolding of a larger RNA structure, which unfolds by multiple steps. We show that this unfolding is not reversible and that it presents numerous unfolding pathways.
PACS.87.15.-v Biomolecules: structure and physical properties 87.15.He Dynamics and conformational changes 87.64.-t Spectroscopic and microscopic techniques in biophysics and medical physics
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