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Rolling circle amplification shows a sinusoidal template length-dependent amplification bias

Bastian Joffroy, Yavuz O. Uca, Domen PreŇ°ern, Jonathan .P.K. Doye and Thorsten L. Schmidt

Nucl. Acids Res. 46, 538-545 (2018)


Biophysical properties of DNA such as its longitudinal and torsional persistence length govern many processes and phenomena in biology, DNA nanotechnology and biotechnology. It has, for example, long been known that the circularization efficiency of short DNA fragments shows a periodic pattern where fragments with integer helical turns circularize much more efficiently than those with odd helical half turns due to stronger stacking of duplex ends. Small DNA circles can serve as templates for rolling circle amplification (RCA), which is a common and extremely robust amplification mechanism for nucleic acids. We discovered a strong template length-dependent amplification efficiency bias of RCA with the same periodicity as B-DNA. However, stacking cannot explain the mechanism behind this bias as the presence of the polymerase in the bifurcation fork inhibits base stacking of ends. Instead, coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations imply that different amplification efficiencies come from a varying fraying probability of the last two downstream base pairs. We conclude that an increased strain-promoted fraying probability can increase the polymerization rate compared to a relaxed template.

The full paper is available from Nucleic Acids Research