The energy landscapes that drive structure formation in biopolymers are difficult to measure. Here we validate experimentally a novel method to reconstruct landscape profiles from single-molecule pulling curves using an inverse Weierstrass transform (IWT) of the Jarzysnki free-energy integral. The method was applied to unfolding measurements of a DNA hairpin, replicating the results found by the more-established weighted histogram (WHAM) and inverse Boltzmann methods. Applying both WHAM and IWT methods to reconstruct the folding landscape for a RNA pseudoknot having a stiff energy barrier, we found that landscape features with sharper curvature than the force probe stiffness could not be recovered with the IWT method. The IWT method is thus best for analyzing data from stiff force probes such as atomic force microscopes.

  title = {Reconstructing Folding Energy Landscape Profiles from Nonequilibrium Pulling Curves with an Inverse Weierstrass Integral Transform},
  author = {Engel, Megan C. and Ritchie, Dustin B. and Foster, Daniel A. N. and Beach, Kevin S. D. and Woodside, Michael T.},
  journal = {Phys. Rev. Lett.},
  volume = {113},
  issue = {23},
  pages = {238104},
  numpages = {5},
  year = {2014},
  month = {Dec},
  publisher = {American Physical Society},
  doi = {10.1103/PhysRevLett.113.238104},
  url = {}