|Takafumi Iwaki, Takuya Saito and Kenichi Yoshikawa
|Colloids and Surfaces B: Biointerfaces
|DNA is a genetic material found in all life on Earth. DNA is composed of four types of nucleotide subunits, and forms a double-helical one-dimensional polyelectrolyte chain. If we focus on the microscopic molecular structure, DNA is a rigid rod-like molecule. On the other hand, with coarse graining, a long-chain DNA exhibits fluctuating behavior over the whole molecule due to thermal fluctuation. Owe to its semiflexible nature, individual giant DNA molecule undergoes a large discrete transition in the higher-order structure. In this folding transition into a compact state, small ions in the solution have a critical effect, since DNA is highly charged. In the present article, we interpret the characteristic features of DNA compaction while paying special attention to the role of small ions, in relation to a variety of single-chain morphologies generated as a result of compaction. (c) 2006 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.