High-sensitivity linear dichroism as a tool for equilibrium analysis in biochemistry- stability constant of DNA-ethidiumbromide complex
Journal article, 1976
A stoichiometrical application of a sensitive method for linear dichroism (LD) detection is suggested for biochemical purposes. The complex formation between a binding site on a polynucleotide and a ligand may be studied with high precision if the following conditions are fulfilled: (1) The polymer can be given a fixed degree of orientation. (2) The site has a specific orientation with respect to the orientation axis of the polymer (e.g., intercalation). (3) The ligand has an anisotropic optical absorption property.
The method was applied to studying the complex between DNA and ethidiumbromide, which was detected by LD with precision of ± 0.5 × 10−7 M in a 4 × 10−4 M DNA solution, i.e., 0.1% occupation of the total site concentration can be detected. The complsxation could be explained by a single type of site (n = 0.14 ± 0.01 sites per nucleotide residue) and a stability constant K1 = (2.5 ± 1) × 105 M−1 at 0.2 M ionic strength.
From the specific LD an average angle 60° was concluded between the helix axis and the long axis of the ethidiumbromide molecule.
This value formally contradicts the Watson-Crick model or the intercalation model but may be explained by extension and deformation effects on the xhain by the flow.