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Methods. 2003 Feb;29(2):196-209.

Vibrational Raman optical activity of proteins, nucleic acids, and viruses.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Glasgow, Glasgow G12 8QQ, UK.


Due to its sensitivity to chirality, Raman optical activity (ROA), which may be measured as a small difference in vibrational Raman scattering from chiral molecules in right- and left-circularly polarized incident light, is a powerful probe of biomolecular structure in solution. Protein ROA spectra provide information on the secondary and tertiary structures of the polypeptide backbone, hydration, side-chain conformation, and structural elements present in denatured states. Nucleic acid ROA spectra yield information on the sugar ring conformation, the base stacking arrangement, and the mutual orientation of the sugar and base rings around the C-N glycosidic linkage. ROA is able to simultaneously probe the structures of both the protein and the nucleic acid components of intact viruses. This article gives a brief account of the theory and measurement of ROA and presents the ROA spectra of a selection of proteins, nucleic acids, and viruses which illustrate the applications of ROA spectroscopy in biomolecular research.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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