[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Linear dichroism (LD), a spectroscopic method for aligned samples, has been used with a synchrotron radiation source to reveal insights into the structure and stability of DNA with increasing salt concentrations (thus stabilizing the base pairing) and increasing temperature while remaining below the melting point (thus destabilizing the base pairing). Measurements have been made from 350 nm to 182 nm, and the spectral changes observed quantified using a Bayesian Markov chain Monte Carlo (MCMC) algorithm, which uses statistical methods to fit to experimental data. Based on literature H-D exchange experiments, we surmise that the cause of the spectral variations is the induction of transient single stranding of tracts in the DNA polymer, particularly those with significant content of the weaker AT base pairs. More detailed analysis of the LD data will require better nucleotide transition polarization assignments.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The photocleavage of double-stranded and single-stranded DNA by the fluorescent dye YOYO-1 was investigated in real time by using the synchrotron radiation light source ASTRID (ISA, Denmark) both to initiate the reaction and to monitor its progress using Couette flow linear dichroism (LD) throughout the irradiation period. The dependence of LD signals on DNA sequences and on time in the intense light beam was explored and quantified for single-stranded poly(dA), poly[(dA-dT)(2)], calf thymus DNA (ctDNA) and Micrococcus luteus DNA (mlDNA). The DNA and ligand regions of the spectrum showed different LD kinetic behaviors, and there was significant sequence dependence of the kinetics. However, in contrast to expectations from the literature, we found that poly(dA), mlDNA, low salt ctDNA and low salt poly[(dA-dT)(2)] all had significant populations of groove-bound YOYO. It seems that this mode was predominantly responsible for the catalysis of DNA cleavage. In homopolymeric DNAs, intercalated YOYO was unable to cleave DNA. In mixed-sequence DNAs the data suggest that YOYO in some but not all intercalated binding sites can cause cleavage. It is also likely that cleavage occurs at transient single-stranded regions. The reaction rates for a 100 mA beam current of 0.5-μW power varied from 0.6 h(-1) for single-stranded poly(dA) to essentially zero for low salt poly[(dG-dC)(2)] and high salt poly[(dA-dT)(2)]. At the conclusion of the experiments with each kind of DNA, uncleaved DNA with intercalated YOYO remained.
Biophysics of Structure and Mechanism 09/2011; 40(10):1121-9. DOI:10.1007/s00249-011-0739-7 · 2.47 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Viscosity is a key parameter for characterising the behaviour of liquids and their flow. It is, however, difficult to measure precisely, reproducibly and accurately for aqueous solutions on a micro-litre volume scale, which is what is usually needed for biological samples. We report the development of a new method for measuring dynamic viscosity by measuring dynamic light scattering (DLS) data for a range of particles of well-defined size. Most applications of DLS involve determining particle size for samples of known viscosity. We inverted the usual protocol and endeavoured to determine viscosity for samples of known particle size. Viscosity measurements for water and aqueous solutions of calf thymus DNA made using DLS were compared with those from a U-tube viscometer. The styrene particles, frequently used as particle size standards, gave unsatisfactory results for our DNA samples as did C-6 derivatized silica and positively charged amino polystyrene microspheres. However, negatively charged carboxylate polystyrene microspheres particles readily gave accurate viscosity measurements over a range of temperatures (0-100 °C). The sample volume required depends on the cuvette used to measure DLS, but can be performed with samples sizes ranging from 40 to 3000 μL. The sample can then be recovered for subsequent experiments. The DLS method is simple to perform at different temperatures and provides data of accuracy significantly above that of a U-tube viscometer. Our results also indicate a way forward to account accurately for solution viscosity in the normal applications of DLS to particle size determination by including the appropriate non-interacting particles as an internal standard.
The Analyst 08/2011; 136(20):4159-63. DOI:10.1039/c1an15475c · 4.11 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Persistence length is the foremost measure of DNA flexibility. Its origins lie in polymer theory which was adapted for DNA following the determination of BDNA structure in 1953. There is no single definition of persistence length used, and the links between published definitions are based on assumptions which may, or may not be, clearly stated. DNA flexibility is affected by local ionic strength, solvent environment, bound ligands and intrinsic sequence-dependent flexibility. This article is a review of persistence length providing a mathematical treatment of the relationships between four definitions of persistence length, including: correlation, Kuhn length, bending, and curvature. Persistence length has been measured using various microscopy, force extension and solution methods such as linear dichroism and transient electric birefringence. For each experimental method a model of DNA is required to interpret the data. The importance of understanding the underlying models, along with the assumptions required by each definition to determine a value of persistence length, is highlighted for linear dichroism data, where it transpires that no model is currently available for long DNA or medium to high shear rate experiments.