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Nucleic Acids Res. 1979 Feb;6(2):797-814.

Circular dichroism and DNA secondary structure.


The change in average rotation of the DNA helix has been determined for the transfer from 0.05 M NaCl to 3.0 M CsCl, 6.2 M LiCl and 5.4 M NH4Cl. This work, combined with data at lower salt from other laboratories, allows us to relate the intensity of the CD of DNA at 275 nm directly to the change in the number of base pairs per turn. The change in secondary structure for the transfer of DNA from 0.05 M NaCl (where it is presumably in the B-form) to high salt (where the characteristic CD has been interpreted as corresponding to C-form geometry) is found to be -0.22 (+/- 0.02) base pairs per turn. In the case of mononucleosomes, where the CD indicates the "C-form", the change in secondary structure (including temperature effects) would add -0.31 (+/- 0.03) turns about the histone core to the -1.25 turns estimated from work on SV40 chromatin. Accurate winding angles and molar extinction coefficients were determined for ethidium.

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