A Spectroscopic And Thermodynamic Study Of Porphyrin/DNA Supramolecular Assemblies

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Biophysical Journal


Assemblies of trans-bis(N-methylpyridinium-4-yl)diphenylporphine ions on the surface of calf thymus DNA have been studied using several spectroscopic techniques: absorbance, circular dichroism, and resonance light scattering. The aggregation equilibrium can be treated as a two-state system-monomer and assembly-each bound to the nucleic acid template. The aggregate absorption spectrum in the Soret region is resolved into two bands of Lorentzian line shape, while the DNA-bound monomer spectrum in this region is composed of two Gaussian bands. The Beer-Lambert law is obeyed by both porphyrin forms. The assembly is also characterized by an extremely large, bisignate induced circular dichroism (CD) profile and by enhanced resonance light scattering (RLS). Both the CD and RLS intensities depend linearly on aggregate concentration. The RLS result is consistent with a model for the aggregates as being either of a characteristic size or of a fixed distribution of sizes, independent of total porphyrin concentration or ionic strength. Above threshold values of concentration and ionic strength, the mass action expression for the equilibrium has a particularly simple form: K' = cac(-1); where cac is defined as the "critical assembly concentration." The dependence of the cac upon temperature and ionic strength (NaCl) has been investigated at a fixed DNA concentration. The value of the cac scales as the inverse square of the sodium chloride concentration and, from temperature dependence studies, the aggregation process is shown to be exothermic.