A Liquid Crystal Model of Viral DNA Encapsidation
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A Liquid Crystal Model of Viral DNA Encapsidation


A liquid crystal continuum modeling framework for icosahedra bacteriophage viruses is developed and tested. The main assumptions of the model are the chromonic columnar hexagonal structure of confined DNA, the high resistance to bending and the phase transition from solid to fluid-like states as the concentration of DNA in the capsid decreases during infection. The model predicts osmotic pressure inside the capsid and the ejection force of the DNA as well as the size of the isotropic volume at the center of the capsid. Extensions of the model are discussed.

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