Date Published:JAN 21
The comment by Stephen Harvey in this issue of the Biophysical Journal concludes with two statements regarding my recent letter about DNA packaging into viral capsids. Harvey agrees with my interpretation of the origin of the large confinement entropy predicted by the molecular-dynamics simulations of his group, and its sensitive dependence on the molecular parameters of their wormlike chain model of double-stranded DNA. On the other hand, he doubts my assertion that the confinement entropy is already included in the interstrand repulsion free energy derived from osmotic stress measurements, which constitutes the major contribution to the packaging free energy used in recent continuum theories of this process. Harvey suggests instead that the confinement entropy should be added to this free energy as a separate term (using, for instance, the method described in my letter). I will argue that this addition is redundant, and, in a brief discussion of continuum theories, will also discuss his comments as relates to the work of other researchers.