Stabilization of DNA Structures with Poly(ethylene sodium phosphate)

July 28, 2017


Stabilization of DNA Structures with Poly(ethylene sodium phosphate)


Rui Moriyama, Yasuhiko Iwasaki, Daisuke Miyoshi




The Journal of Physical Chemistry B


The structure and stability of biomolecules under molecular crowding conditions are of interest because such information clarifies how biomolecules behave under cell-mimicking conditions. The anionic surfaces of chromatin, which is composed of DNA strands and histone complexes, are concentrated in cell nuclei and thus generate a polyanionic crowding environment. In this study, we designed and synthesized an anionic polymer, poly(ethylene sodium phosphate) (PEP·Na), which has a nucleic acid phosphate backbone and created a cell nucleus-like environment. The effects of molecular crowding with PEP·Na on the thermodynamics of DNA duplexes, triplexes, and G-quadruplexes were systematically studied. Thermodynamic analysis demonstrated that PEP·Na significantly stabilized the DNA structures; e.g., a free energy change at 25 °C for duplex formation decreased from −6.6 to −12.8 kcal/mol with 20 wt % PEP·Na. Thermodynamic parameters further indicated that the factors for the stabilization of the DNA structures were dependent on sodium ion concentration. At lower polymer concentrations, the stabilization was attributed to a shielding of the electrostatic repulsion between DNA strands by the sodium ions of PEP·Na. In contrast, at higher polymer concentrations, the DNA structures were entropically stabilized by volume exclusion, which could be enhanced by electrostatic repulsion between phosphate groups in DNA strands and in PEP·Na. Additionally, increasing PEP·Na concentration resulted in increasing enthalpy of the DNA duplex but decreasing enthalpy of DNA G-quadruplex, indicating that the polymers also promoted dehydration of the DNA strands. Thus, polyanionic crowding affects the thermodynamics of DNA structures via the sodium ions, volume exclusion, and hydration. The stabilization of DNA by the cell nucleus-like polyanionic crowding provides new information regarding DNA structures and allows for modeling reactions in cell nuclei.




Circular dichroism, Thermodynamics, Biochemistry, DNA structure