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Walker, Philipp U.; Vanderlinden, Willem; Lipfert, Jan (2018): Dynamics and energy landscape of DNA plectoneme nucleation. In: Physical Review E, Vol. 98, No. 4, 42412
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DNA buckling is the fundamental step for plectoneme nucleation and supercoil dynamics that are critical in the processing of genetic information. Here we systematically quantify DNA buckling dynamics using high-speed magnetic tweezers. Buckling times are similar to 10-100 ms and depend exponentially on both applied force and twist. By deconvolving measured time traces with the instrument response, we reconstruct full two-dimensional extension-twist energy landscapes of the buckling transition that reveal an asymmetry between the pre- and postbuckling states and suggest a highly bent transition state conformation.