A simple semi-empirical theory is developed for the ionic strength dependence of the flexible polymer-induced condensation of semiflexible polyelectrolytes such as DNA and F-actin filaments. Critical concentrations of flexible polymer needed for condensation are calculated by comparing the free energies of inserting the semiflexible polyelectrolytes in a solution of flexible polymers, respectively, in their free state, and in their condensed state. Predictions of the theory are compared to experimental data on the condensation of DNA and F-actin filaments induced by the flexible polymer poly(ethylene oxide). The theory also predicts that reentrant decollapse is possible at low ionic strength and high concentrations of flexible polymer, as observed for DNA.
|Publication status||Published - 2001|