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Titre du document / Document title

The nature of "unusual" electro-optical transients observed for DNA

Auteur(s) / Author(s)

PORSCHKE Dietmar ;

Résumé / Abstract

Unusual electro-optical transients have been observed for many different polymers and colloidal systems. These effects provoked serious confusion, because a simple-minded interpretation can be completely misleading. The case of double helical DNA is of particular interest, because DNA has been studied in more detail than other systems and because of its biological function. DNA is subject to bending, which implies a loss of symmetry. Due to its high charge density, non-symmetric conformations must have a non-symmetric distribution of charges leading to a torque of considerable magnitude in the presence of external electric fields. The dipole moment describing this torque must be calculated in a coordinate system with its origin at the center of diffusion. The resulting dipole values are in the range of thousands of Debye units. Because the new dipole type is analogous to but not identical with permanent dipoles, the notation "quasi-permanent" dipole is suggested. Application of this concept, using commonly accepted parameters for DNA and established procedures for calculation of electro-optical transients, leads to "unusual" transients. Thus, these transients must be expected from well-known parameters of DNA double helices. The influence of the quasi-permanent dipole moment may be amplified considerably by hydrodynamic coupling. This effect has been demonstrated for the case of smoothly bent rods. Both model calculations and experiments illustrate the danger of getting data that may be completely misleading. For example, depending on pulse amplitudes and/or pulse lengths, electro-optical decays may be accelerated artificially due to superposition of decay components with opposite amplitudes. Experiments show that unusual transients and apparent acceleration effects disappear, when high frequency sine pulses are used for the electro-optical analysis of DNA. Electro-optical effects depend upon the internal dynamics of the object under investigation. In general, the dynamics of DNA bending was assumed to be fast compared to rotational diffusion. Because stacking rearrangements in single stranded nucleic acids are relatively slow and recently the dynamics of the B-A transition was observed in the time range >1 us, it is likely that there are also relatively slow rearrangements between bending conformers. Bending transitions are expected to be relatively fast, when there are no activation barriers in the bending pathway, and may be slow, when activation barriers must be passed between bending conformers.

Revue / Journal Title

Colloids and surfaces. B, Biointerfaces    ISSN  0927-7765 

Source / Source

2007, vol. 56, no1-2, pp. 44-49 [6 page(s) (article)]

Langue / Language


Editeur / Publisher

Elsevier, Oxford, ROYAUME-UNI  (1993) (Revue)

Mots-clés d'auteur / Author Keywords

DNA structure and dynamics


Electric dichroism


Electric birefringence


Quasi-permanent dipole


Hydrodynamic coupling


Localisation / Location

INIST-CNRS, Cote INIST : 18274 B, 35400014711841.0060

Nº notice refdoc (ud4) : 18656117

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