Pore translocation of knotted polymer chains: how friction depends on knot complexity

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Acs Publications
Knots can affect the capability of polymers to translocate through narrow pores in complex and counter-intuitive ways that are still relatively unexplored. We report here on a systematic theoretical and computational investigation of the driven translocation of flexible chains accommodating a large repertoire of knots trapped at the pore entrance. These include composites knots, which are the most common form of spontaneous entanglement in long polymers. Two unexpected results emerge from this study. First, the high force translocation compliance does not decrease systematically with knot complexity. Secondly, the response of composite knots is so dependent on the order of their factor knots, that their hindrance can even be lower than some of their prime components. We show that the resulting rich and seemingly disparate phenomenology can be captured in a seamless framework based on the mechanism by which tension is propagated along and past the knots. The quantitative scheme can be viably used for predictive purposes and hence ought to be useful in applicative contexts, too.
"Suma, Rosa and Micheletti, ACS Macro Lett. 2015, 4, 12, 1420–1424"
Redox reactions, Composites, Friction, Order, Polymers