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In a process called "molecular combining," DNA molecules attached at one end to a solid surface were extended and aligned by a receding air-water interface and left to dry on the surface. Molecular combing was observed to extend the length of the bacteriophage lambda DNA molecule to 21.5 +/- 0.5 micrometers (unextended length, 16.2 micrometers). With the(More)
Polymerases form a class of enzymes that act as molecular motors as they move along their nucleic acid substrate during catalysis, incorporating nucleotide triphosphates at the end of the growing chain and consuming chemical energy. A debated issue is how the enzyme converts chemical energy into motion [J. Gelles and R. Landick, Cell 93, 13 (1998)]. In a(More)
Force measurements are performed on single DNA molecules with an optical trapping interferometer that combines subpiconewton force resolution and millisecond time resolution. A molecular construction is prepared for mechanically unzipping several thousand-basepair DNA sequences in an in vitro configuration. The force signals corresponding to opening and(More)
We describe the mechanical separation of the two complementary strands of a single molecule of bacteriophage lambda DNA. The 3' and 5' extremities on one end of the molecule are pulled progressively apart, and this leads to the opening of the double helix. The typical forces along the opening are in the range of 10-15 pN. The separation force signal is(More)
The adaptive evolution of large asexual populations is generally characterized by competition between clones carrying different beneficial mutations. Interference slows down the adaptation speed and makes the theoretical description of the dynamics more complex with respect to the successional occurrence and fixation of beneficial mutations typical of small(More)
Branch migration of Holliday junctions is an important step of genetic recombination and DNA repair. In Escherichia coli, this process is driven by the RuvAB complex acting as a molecular motor. Using magnetic tweezers, we studied the RuvAB-directed migration of individual Holliday junctions formed between two approximately 6-kb DNA molecules of identical(More)
Helicases and translocases are proteins that use the energy derived from ATP hydrolysis to move along or pump nucleic acid substrates. Single molecule manipulation has proved to be a powerful tool to investigate the mechanochemistry of these motors. Here we first describe the basic mechanical properties of DNA unraveled by single molecule manipulation(More)
RNA polymerases carry out the synthesis of an RNA copy from a DNA template. They move along DNA, incorporate nucleotide triphosphate (NTP) at the end of the growing RNA chain, and consume chemical energy. In a single-molecule assay using the T7 RNA polymerase, we study how a mechanical force opposing the forward motion of the enzyme along DNA affects the(More)
A magnetic tweezers setup is used to control both the stretching force and the relative linking number DeltaLk of a palindromic DNA molecule. We show here, in absence of divalent ions, that twisting negatively the molecule while stretching it at approximately 1 pN induces the formation of a cruciform DNA structure. Furthermore, once the cruciform DNA(More)
DNA is partly denatured in vitro by applying a force that mechanically separates the two strands of the double helix. Sudden reduction of the imposed displacement triggers spontaneous reannealing of the molecule. The corresponding force signals are measured by optical trapping interferometry for backward steps of various amplitudes and base sequence(More)