Right-handed and left-handed helices of poly(dA-dC) X (dG-dT).


The secondary structures of poly(dA-dC) X (dG-dT) were studied using CD and IR spectroscopies. We give spectroscopic evidence of secondary structure transitions of poly(dA-dC) X (dG-dT) from a B to a Z-like helix, induced by transition metal ions (Ni2+) in presence of high concentrations of Cs+ and Na+. In the presence of Na+, the B in equilibrium Z transition occurs at any temperature, whereas premelting conditions are required in presence of Cs+. For these two alkali ions the Z-like form is only induced by Ni2+ ions through their specific interactions at N7 of purines, under conditions of low water activity due to the high alkali salt concentration. We also show that the CD spectrum obtained in presence of Cs+ ions and characterized by a negative band at 275 nm, cannot be interpreted in terms of Z-like left-handed helix but reflects a modified B right-handed helix.

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