Optical anisotropy of chromatin.Flow linear dichroism and electric dichroism studies

Stephan I. Dimitrov, Ivan V. Smirnov, Vladimir L. Makarov

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The optical anisotropy of chromatin with different length of the linker DNA isolated from a variety of sources (Frend erythroleukemia cells, calf thymus, hen erythrocytes and sea urchin sperm) has been studied in a large range of mono- and bivalent cations concentraitons by the use of flow linear dichroism (LD) and electric dichroism.We have found that all chromatins studied displayed negative LD values in the range of 0.25 mM EDTA - 2 mM NaCl and close positive values in the range of 2-100 mM NaCl. Mg2+ cations, in contrast to Na+ cations, induce optically isotropic chromatin fibers. All chromatin samples exhibit positive form effect amounting to 5-10% of LD amplitude observed at 260 nm. This form effect is determined by the anisotropic scattering of polarized light by single chromatin fibers.The conformational transition at 2 mM NaCl leads to the distortion of chromatin filament structure. The reversibility of this distortion depends on the length of the linker DNA - for chromatins with the linker DNA of 10-30 b.p. it is parially reversible, while for preparations with longer linker DNA it is irreversible.Relatively low electric field does not affect chromatin structure, while higher electric field (more than 7 kV/cm) distorts the structure of chromatin.Presented resutls explain the contradictory data obtained by electrooptical and hydrooptical methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1135-1149
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Biomolecular Structure and Dynamics
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Molecular Biology

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