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Open AccessArticle

DNA Compaction and Charge Inversion Induced by Organic Monovalent Ions

School of Physics and Electronic Information, Wenzhou University, Wenzhou 325035, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Helmut Schlaad
Polymers 2017, 9(4), 128;
Received: 14 January 2017 / Revised: 22 March 2017 / Accepted: 23 March 2017 / Published: 30 March 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bio-inspired and Bio-based Polymers)
DNA condensation and charge inversion usually occur in solutions of multivalent counterions. In the present study, we show that the organic monovalent ions of tetraphenyl chloride arsenic (Ph4As+) can induce DNA compaction and even invert its electrophoretic mobility by single molecular methods. The morphology of condensed DNA was directly observed by atomic force microscopy (AFM) in the presence of a low concentration of Ph4As+ in DNA solution. The magnetic tweezers (MT) measurements showed that DNA compaction happens at very low Ph4As+ concentration (≤1 μM), and the typical step-like structures could be found in the extension-time curves of tethering DNA. However, when the concentration of Ph4As+ increased to 1 mM, the steps disappeared in the pulling curves and globular structures could be found in the corresponding AFM images. Electrophoretic mobility measurement showed that charge inversion of DNA induced by the monovalent ions happened at 1.6 mM Ph4As+, which is consistent with the prediction based on the strong hydrophobicity of Ph4As+. We infer that the hydrophobic effect is the main driving force of DNA charge inversion and compaction by the organic monovalent ion. View Full-Text
Keywords: DNA compaction; charge inversion; monovalent ions; hydrophobic effect DNA compaction; charge inversion; monovalent ions; hydrophobic effect
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MDPI and ACS Style

Xia, W.; Wang, Y.; Yang, A.; Yang, G. DNA Compaction and Charge Inversion Induced by Organic Monovalent Ions. Polymers 2017, 9, 128.

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