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Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2000;73(1):1-49.

Solution structure and dynamics of biomolecules from Raman optical activity.

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  • 1Chemistry Department, University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK.


Raman optical activity (ROA) measures vibrational optical activity by means of a small difference in the intensity of Raman scattering from chiral molecules in right and left circularly polarized incident laser light. The ROA spectra of a wide range of biomolecules in aqueous solution can now be measured routinely. Because of its sensitivity to the chiral elements of biomolecular structure, ROA provides new information about solution structure and dynamics complementary to that supplied by conventional spectroscopic techniques. This article provides a brief introduction to the theory and practice of ROA spectroscopy followed by a review of recent ROA results on polypeptides, proteins, carbohydrates, nucleic acids and viruses which illustrate how new insight into current problems of structure, folding and function may be obtained from ROA studies.

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