Kinetics and mechanism of plasmid DNA penetration through nanopores

Elizabeth Arkhangelsky, Yossi Sefi, Barak Hajaj, Gadi Rothenberg, Vitaly Gitis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


DNA transport through membranes is a key step in many biological processes. The phenomenon of DNA penetration through narrow polymer membrane pores was previously observed only under the influence of external electric fields. Recently, it was shown that some types of DNA could penetrate through membrane pores also under hydrodynamic pressure. Here we show that double-stranded plasmid DNA with a 350 nm hydrodynamic diameter penetrates through membrane pores as narrow as 10 nm under pressure, and suggest that the supercoiled plasmids penetrate through these narrow pores by stretching into long hair-shaped flexible strands. We study the kinetics of plasmid penetration and the changes in plasmid elasticity caused by UV irradiation. The results suggest a mechanism based on "snake-like" movement with gradual pore blocking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)45-51
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Membrane Science
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2011


  • E. coli
  • Permeation kinetics
  • Plasmid elasticity
  • Polymeric membranes
  • Ultrafiltration
  • Viral infection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • General Materials Science
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry
  • Filtration and Separation


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