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Observing the helical geometry of double-stranded DNA in solution by fluorescence resonance energy transfer.

By R M Clegg, A I Murchie, A Zechel and D M Lilley


The efficiency of fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) between fluorescein and rhodamine covalently attached to both 5' termini of a series of double-stranded DNA species (ranging from 8 to 20 bp) was measured. FRET efficiency varied with a dependence compatible with dye-to-dye distances (R) calculated on the basis of double-stranded B-DNA structure; the helical geometry of double-stranded DNA in solution is clearly evident. The experimental data were consistent with a 1/[1 + (R/R0)6] dependence of FRET efficiency characteristic for the Förster dipole-dipole mechanism. The thermal dissociation of the strands of the duplex DNA species can be followed by using FRET, and from these data we have been able to obtain enthalpies of duplex formation in good agreement with earlier measurements using alternative techniques. FRET measurements at very different salt concentrations can be accurately compared. We conclude that FRET is a reliable and valuable method for studying structure and conformational transitions in nucleic acids

Topics: Research Article
Year: 1993
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Provided by: PubMed Central
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