Book of Abstracts: Albany 2005
The Physics of Viral DNA Ejection
One of the most intriguing features of the viral life cycle is the way in which the viral genome is delivered to the host cell. Recent experiments on both the packing and ejection of DNA in bacterial viruses have made it possible to carry out quantitative tests of physical models of DNA packing and ejection. In this talk I will describe experiments on DNA ejection in bacterial viruses and show how these experiments can be greeted with physical models featuring DNA elasticity and simple models of DNA interactions. These models relate the rate of viral ejection to driving forces coming from the packaged DNA itself as well as from binding of DNA-binding proteins within the host cell. One of the key outcomes of these models is a prediction of the rate of ejection as a function of genome length.