Thursday, September 22, 2016

Optical Tweezers Analysis of Double-Stranded DNA Denaturation in the Presence of Urea

Chunli Zhu, and Jing Li

Urea is a kind of denaturant prone to form hydrogen bonds with the electronegative centers of the nitrogenous bases, threatening the stability of hydrogen bonds between DNA base pairs. In this paper, the stability and stiffness of DNA double helix influenced by urea are investigated at single-molecule level using optical tweezers. Experimental results show that DNA’s double helix stability and stiffness both decrease with increasing urea concentration. In addition, the re-forming of ruptured hydrogen bonds between the base pairs is blocked by urea as the tension on DNA is released.

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