Structural Heterogeneity in Polynucleotide-Facilitated Assembly of Phenothiazine Dyes
Journal article, 2018
The assembly of stacked dyes on DNA is of interest for electron transfer, light harvesting, sensing, and catalysis applications. A combination of UV/vis absorption, linear dichroism (LD), and circular dichroism (CD) was applied to characterize thoroughly the aggregation with DNA of the phenothiazine dyes methylene blue, azure B, and thionine. Aggregates of each dye with [poly(dG-dC)] 2 , [poly(dA-dT)] 2 , and calf thymus DNA were explored at high dye:DNA binding ratios, where excess dye groove-binds after all intercalation sites are filled. The organization of the aggregates (dimers, trimers, and multimers) with polydeoxynucleotides displays a structural diversity that depends on DNA sequence, extent of methylation of dye exocyclic amine groups, and ionic strength. The dyes typically form right-handed H-aggregates having negative LD, consistent with stepped stacking along the minor groove. However, aggregates in some dye:DNA aggregates show left-handed chirality or positive LD, indicating unusual modes of aggregation such as formation of adventitious dimers between intercalated and minor groove bound dye. In terms of sequence-dependence, methylene blue shows more extensive aggregation with [poly(dA-dT)] 2 , while thionine aggregates more with [poly(dG-dC)] 2 . Azure B has distinctive behavior that is unlike either other dyes. Thus, although these phenothiazine dyes possess a common tricyclic framework, the organization of their polynucleotide-facilitated aggregates depends sensitively on the extent of methylation of the exocyclic amines.