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Entropically Driven Helix Formation
- Snir, Yehuda, Kamien, Randall D.
- Science 2005 v.307 no.5712 pp. 1067
- biopolymers, entropy, geometry, micelles, models
- The helix is a ubiquitous motif for biopolymers. We propose a heuristic, entropically based model that predicts helix formation in a system of hard spheres and semiflexible tubes. We find that the entropy of the spheres is maximized when short stretches of the tube form a helix with a geometry close to that found in natural helices. Our model could be directly tested with wormlike micelles as the tubes, and the effect could be used to self-assemble supramolecular helices.