Non-equilibrium phase transition in a model for supercoiling-dependent DNA transcription

Condensed Matter lunchtime seminar

Non-equilibrium phase transition in a model for supercoiling-dependent DNA transcription

Event details

We study a variant of a recently proposed non-equilibrium stochastic model for supercoiling-dependent transcription in DNA. In the case of a circular DNA molecule with overall positive supercoiling, we find a non-equilibrium phase transition between an absorbing phase, where all genes are switched off due to the supercoiling, and an active phase with a non-zero transcription rate. Mean field theory predicts that the transition should be continuous at a critical value of the background supercoiling, and we focus our analysis on this case. Our simulations suggest that the switch between the transcribed and silent phases may actually be a fluctuation-induced discontinuous transition, where the jump in the transcription rate decreases with the number of genes in the system.

About Condensed Matter lunchtime seminars

This is a weekly series of informal talks given primarily by members of the soft condensed matter and statistical mechanics groups, but is also open to members of other groups and external visitors. The aim of the series is to promote discussion and learning of various topics at a level suitable to the broad background of the group. Everyone is welcome to attend..

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