Probing DNA conformational changes with high temporal resolution by Tethered Particle Motion

  • Manghi M
  • Tardin C
  • Baglio J
 et al. 
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The Tethered Particle Motion (TPM) technique informs about conformational changes of DNA molecules, e.g. upon looping or interaction with proteins, by tracking the Brownian motion of a particle probe tethered to a surface by a single DNA molecule and detecting changes of its amplitude of movement. We discuss in this context the time resolution of TPM, which strongly depends on the particle-DNA complex relaxation time, i.e. the characteristic time it takes to explore its configuration space by diffusion. By comparing theory, simulations and experiments, we propose a calibration of TPM at the dynamical level: we analyze how the relaxation time grows with both DNA contour length (from 401 to 2080 base pairs) and particle radius (from 20 to 150~nm). Notably we demonstrate that, for a particle of radius 20~nm or less, the hydrodynamic friction induced by the particle and the surface does not significantly slow down the DNA. This enables us to determine the optimal time resolution of TPM in distinct experimental contexts which can be as short as 20~ms.

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  • Manoel Manghi

  • Catherine Tardin

  • Julien Baglio

  • Philippe Rousseau

  • Laurence Salome

  • Nicolas Destainville

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