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Polymers 2018, 10(3), 244; https://doi.org/10.3390/polym10030244

The Mixing Counterion Effect on DNA Compaction and Charge Neutralization at Low Ionic Strength

College of Mathematical, Physics and Electronic Information Engineering, Wenzhou University, Wenzhou 325035, China
These authors contribute equally.
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Received: 24 December 2017 / Revised: 24 February 2018 / Accepted: 26 February 2018 / Published: 28 February 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ionic Polymers)
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Abstract

DNA compaction and charge neutralization in a mixing counterion solution involves competitive and cooperative electrostatic binding, and sometimes counterion complexation. At normal ionic strength, it has been found that the charge neutralization of DNA by the multivalent counterion is suppressed when being added extra mono- and di-valent counterions. Here, we explore the effect mixing counterion on DNA compaction and charge neutralization under the condition of low ionic strength. Being quite different from normal ionic strength, the electrophoretic mobility of DNA in multivalent counterion solution (octalysine, spermine) increases the presence of mono- and di-valent cations, such as sodium and magnesium ions. It means that the charge neutralization of DNA by the multivalent counterion is promoted rather than suppressed when introducing extra mono- and di-valent counterions into solution. This conclusion is also supported by the measurement of condensing and unraveling forces of DNA condensates under the same condition by single molecular magnetic tweezers. This mixing effect can be attributed to the cooperative electrostatic binding of counterions to DNA when the concentration of counterions in solution is below a critical concentration. View Full-Text
Keywords: DNA compaction; charge neutralization; counterion; condensing forces DNA compaction; charge neutralization; counterion; condensing forces
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Wang, Y.; Wang, R.; Gao, T.; Yang, G. The Mixing Counterion Effect on DNA Compaction and Charge Neutralization at Low Ionic Strength. Polymers 2018, 10, 244.

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