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Biophys J. 1984 Dec;46(6):763-8.

Quantitative analysis of nucleic acids, proteins, and viruses by Raman band deconvolution.


A constrained, iterative Fourier deconvolution method is employed to enhance the resolution of Raman spectra of biological molecules for quantitative assessment of macromolecular secondary structures and hydrogen isotope exchange kinetics. In an application to the Pf1 filamentous bacterial virus, it is shown that the Raman amide I band contains no component other than that due to alpha-helix, indicating the virtual 100% helicity of coat proteins in the native virion. Comparative analysis of the amide I band of six filamentous phages (fd, If1, IKe, Pf1, Xf, and Pf3), all at the same experimental conditions, indicates that the subunit helix-percentage ranges from a high of 100% in Pf1 to a low of 71% in Xf. Deconvolution of amide I of Pf3 at elevated temperatures, for which an alpha-to-beta transition was previously reported (Thomas, G. J., Jr., and L. A. Day, 1981, Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. USA., 78:2962-2966), allows quantitative evaluation of the contributions of both alpha-helix and beta-strand conformations to the structure of the thermally perturbed viral coat protein. Weak Raman lines of viral DNA bases and coat protein side chains, which are poorly resolved instrumentally, are also distinguished for all viruses by the deconvolution procedure. Application to the carbon-8 hydrogen isotope exchange reaction of a purine constituent of transfer RNA permits accurate determination of the exchange rate constant, which is in agreement with calculations based upon curve-fitting methods.

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