Melting of Branched RNA Molecules
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Publisher:American Physical Society
Citation:Ralf Bundschuh, Robijn Bruinsma, "Melting of Branched RNA Molecules," Physical Review Letters 100, no. 14 (2008), doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.100.148101
In this Letter we show that the melting thermodynamics of RNA molecules is very sensitive to the branching geometry. We find that, when pairing interactions are described by a Gō model, unbranched RNA molecules with a linear geometry melt via a conventional continuous phase transition with classical exponents while RNA molecules with the branching geometry of a Cayley tree, with coordination number three, have a free energy that shows no thermodynamic singularity within numerical precision. Nevertheless, we provide an analytical proof that the free energy does have a mathematical singularity at the stability limit of the ordered structure. The correlation length appears to diverge but only on the high-temperature side of this singularity.