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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of charge modification on the helical period of duplex DNA.

Supercoiled enriched PM-2 DNA has been relaxed by treating with calf thymus topoisomerase I and used in the preparation of a family of n-butylamine adducts of varying levels of substitution. The amine is cross-linked by formaldehyde to the exocyclic amino group of G when the DNA is in duplex form. These amine adducts of covalently closed relaxed (ccr) DNA, freed of the formaldehyde and n-butylamine reactants, have circular dichroism (CD) spectral properties similar to those previously reported for the adducts of calf thymus DNA [Chen, C., Kilkuskie, R., & Hanlon, S. (1981) Biochemistry 20, 4987-4995]. In both instances, the CD transformation effected by increasing levels of substituted cationic amine is similar to that induced by solvents of high electrolyte content. The adducts also exhibit greatly increased electrophoretic mobility compared to unreacted controls or a control treated only with formaldehyde. Mobility changes in the presence of variable amounts of ethidium bromide demonstrate that this phenomenon is attributable to the formation of negative supercoils and is not due to denaturation or unwinding of the duplex. Incremental increases in superhelicity due to the attachment of the amine have been measured by reference to a topoisomerase ladder of underivatized PM-2 DNA and converted to changes in winding angle. As the extent of substitution increases, the rotational strength of the positive band above 260 nm decreases, and the winding angle increases in the nonlinear manner observed previously for underivatized PM-2 DNA [Baase, W. A., & Johnson, W. C., Jr. (1979) Nucleic Acids Res. 6, 797-814]. In fact, the relationship between these two properties is the same for both the adducts and the underivatized ccr species. Thus, the attachment of the amine has the same conformational effects as the electrolyte content of the solvent. The effect can be rationalized in terms of the reduction of the electrostatic free energy of the duplex due to site-bound or localized cation binding in the minor groove.[1]


  1. Effects of charge modification on the helical period of duplex DNA. Kilkuskie, R., Wood, N., Ringquist, S., Shinn, R., Hanlon, S. Biochemistry (1988) [Pubmed]
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