Condensation of DNA-actin polyelectrolyte mixtures driven by ions of different valences

Olena V. Zribi*, Hee Kyung, Ramin Golestanian, Tanniemola B. Liverpool, Gerard C L Wong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Multivalent ions can induce condensation of like-charged polyelectrolytes into compact states, a process that requires different ion valences for different polyelectrolyte species. In this work we examine the condensation behavior in binary anionic polyelectrolyte mixtures consisting of DNA coils and F-actin rods in the presence of monovalent, divalent, and trivalent ions. As expected, monovalent ions do not condense either component and divalent ions selectively condense F-actin rods out of the polyelectrolyte mixture. For trivalent ions, however, we observe a microphase separation between the two polyelectrolytes into coexisting finite-sized F-actin bundles and DNA toroids. Further, by increasing the DNA volume fraction in the mixture, condensed F-actin bundles can be completely destabilized, leading to only DNA condensation within the mixture. We examine a number of possible causes and propose a model based on polyelectrolyte competition for ions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number031911
JournalPhysical Review E: Statistical, Nonlinear, and Soft Matter Physics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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