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Statistical Analysis of Molecular Nanotemplate Driven DNA Adsorption on Graphite

Dubrovin, E. V., Speller, S., Yaminsky, I. V.
Langmuir 2014 v.30 no.51 pp. 15423-15432
DNA, adsorption, alcohols, alkanes, atomic force microscopy, biopolymers, graphene, models, moieties, statistical analysis, stearic acid
In this work, we have studied the conformation of DNA molecules aligned on the nanotemplates of octadecylamine, stearyl alcohol, and stearic acid on highly oriented pyrolytic graphite (HOPG). For this purpose, fluctuations of contours of adsorbed biopolymers obtained from atomic force microscopy (AFM) images were analyzed using the wormlike chain model. Moreover, the conformations of adsorbed biopolymer molecules were characterized by the analysis of the scaling exponent ν, which relates the mean squared end-to-end distance and contour length of the polymer. During adsorption on octadecylamine and stearyl alcohol nanotemplates, DNA forms straight segments, which order along crystallographic axes of graphite. In this case, the conformation of DNA molecules can be described using two different length scales. On a large length scale (at contour lengths l > 200–400 nm), aligned DNA molecules have either 2D compact globule or partially relaxed 2D conformation, whereas on a short length scale (at l ≤ 200–400 nm) their conformation is close to that of rigid rods. The latter type of conformation can be also assigned to DNA adsorbed on a stearic acid nanotemplate. The different conformation of DNA molecules observed on the studied monolayers is connected with the different DNA–nanotemplate interactions associated with the nature of the functional group of the alkane derivative in the nanotemplate (amine, alcohol, or acid). The persistence length of λ-DNA adsorbed on octadecylamine nanotemplates is 31 ± 2 nm indicating the loss of DNA rigidity in comparison with its native state. Similar values of the persistence length (34 ± 2 nm) obtained for 24-times shorter DNA molecules adsorbed on an octadecylamine nanotemplate demonstrate that this rigidity change does not depend on biopolymer length. Possible reasons for the reduction of DNA persistence length are discussed in view of the internal DNA structure and DNA–surface interaction.