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The nature of "unusual" electro-optical transients observed for DNA
Unusual electro-optical transients have been observed for many different polymers and colloidal systems. These effects provoked serious confusion, because a simple-minded interpretation can be completely misleading. The case of double helical DNA is of particular interest, because DNA has been studied in more detail than other systems and because of its biological function. DNA is subject to bending, which implies a loss of symmetry. Due to its high charge density, non-symmetric conformations must have a non-symmetric distribution of charges leading to a torque of considerable magnitude in the presence of external electric fields. The dipole moment describing this torque must be calculated in a coordinate system with its origin at the center of diffusion. The resulting dipole values are in the range of thousands of Debye units. Because the new dipole type is analogous to but not identical with permanent dipoles, the notation "quasi-permanent" dipole is suggested. Application of this concept, using commonly accepted parameters for DNA and established procedures for calculation of electro-optical transients, leads to "unusual" transients. Thus, these transients must be expected from well-known parameters of DNA double helices. The influence of the quasi-permanent dipole moment may be amplified considerably by hydrodynamic coupling. This effect has been demonstrated for the case of smoothly bent rods. Both model calculations and experiments illustrate the danger of getting data
Elsevier Science
PMID : 17188466 ISSN : 0927-7765
Colloids and surfaces. B, Biointerfaces A. 2007, vol. 56, n° 1-2, pp. 44-49 [6 pages]
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