Packaging stiff polymers in small containers: A molecular dynamics study

D. C. Rapaport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


The question of how stiff polymers are able to pack into small containers is particularly relevant to the study of DNA packaging in viruses. A reduced version of the problem based on coarse-grained representations of the main components of the system - the DNA polymer and the spherical viral capsid - has been studied by molecular dynamics simulation. The results, involving longer polymers than in earlier work, show that as polymers become more rigid there is an increasing tendency to self-organize as spools that wrap from the inside out, rather than the inverse direction seen previously. In the final state, a substantial part of the polymer is packed into one or more coaxial spools, concentrically layered with different orientations, a form of packaging achievable without twisting the polymer.

Original languageEnglish
Article number030401
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number3
StatePublished - 28 Sep 2016

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© 2016 American Physical Society.


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