Ejection dynamics of polymeric chains from viral capsids: Effect of solvent quality

I. Ali, D. Marenduzzo*, J. M. Yeomans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


We present simulations investigating the effects of solvent quality on the dynamics of flexible (RNA-like) and semiflexible (DNA-like) polymers ejecting from spherical viral capsids. We find that the mean ejection time increases and the ejection time distributions are broadened as the solvent quality decreases. Our results thus suggest that DNA ejection may be very efficiently controlled by tuning the salt concentration in the environment, in agreement with recent experimental findings. We also observe random pauses in the ejection. These become extremely long for semiflexible polymers at lower solvent quality, and we interpret this as a signature of a low driving force for ejection. We find that, for most polymers, ejection is an all-or-nothing process at the solvent conditions we investigated: polymers normally completely eject once the process is initiated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4159-4164
Number of pages6
JournalBiophysical Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Jun 1 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics


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