The kinetics of DNA Helix-Coil subtransitions

S. A. Kozyavkin, D. B. Naritsin, Yu L. Lyubchenko

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6 Scopus citations


The kinetic analysis of individual helixcoil subtransitions was performed by comparing melting and renaturation profiles obtained at different temperature change rates. The duration of the three transition stages and its dependence on temperature and ionic strength were determined for a T7 phage DNA fragment. The obtained temperature dependence of the melting time for a stretch flanked by melted regions is in quantitative agreement with that predicted by the theory of slow processes (V.V. Anshelevich, A.V. Vologodskii, A.V. Lukashin, M.D. Frank-Kamenetskii, Biopolymers 23, 39 (1984)). The reasons are discussed for the increasing relaxation time of this stretch in the middle of its transition with decreasing ionic strength.The zipping kinetics of a melted region under essentially nonequilibrium conditions was examined for T7 fragment and pA03 DNAs. The obtained temperature dependence of the zipping time is in quantitative agreement with calculations based on the theory of slow processes.The renaturation times of stretches flanked by helical regions proved fairly small even at a low ionic strength. These times are several orders of magnitude smaller than the renaturation times of the same stretches with one helical boundary. A formal application of the theory of slow processes failed to account for the small renaturation times of stretches that are zipped from both ends. This is probably due to the non-allowance for the changing entropy of the loop linking two helix-coil boundaries migrating towards each other.Slow processes have been revealed in the intramolecular melting of Col El DNA at a high ionic strength. The reason for the long relaxation time of one subtransition is the large size of the loop that separates the melting stretch from the helical part of the molecule. This result can be accounted for by the theory of slow processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-705
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Feb 1986
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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