Interaction between DNA and cationic surfactants: effect of DNA conformation and surfactant headgroup

Dias, Rita S. ; Magno, Luís M. ; Valente, Artur J. M. ; Das, Dibyendu ; Das, Prasanta K. ; Maiti, Souvik ; Miguel, Maria G. ; Lindman, Bjorn (2008) Interaction between DNA and cationic surfactants: effect of DNA conformation and surfactant headgroup The Journal of Physical Chemistry B, 112 (46). pp. 14446-14452. ISSN 1520-6106

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The interactions between DNA and a number of different cationic surfactants, differing in headgroup polarity, were investigated by electric conductivity measurements and fluorescence microscopy. It was observed that, the critical association concentration (cac), characterizing the onset of surfactant binding to DNA, does not vary significantly with the architecture of the headgroup. However, comparing with the critical micelle concentration (cmc) in the absence of DNA, it can be inferred that the micelles of a surfactant with a simple quaternary ammonium headgroup are much more stabilized by the presence of DNA than those of surfactants with hydroxylated head-groups. In line with previous studies of polymer−surfactant association, the cac does not vary significantly with either the DNA concentration or its chain length. On the other hand, a novel observation is that the cac is much lower when DNA is denaturated and in the single-stranded conformation, than for the double-helix DNA. This is contrary to expectation for a simple electrostatically driven association. Thus previous studies of polyelectrolyte−surfactant systems have shown that the cac decreases strongly with increasing linear charge density of the polyion. Since double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) has twice as large linear charge density as single-stranded DNA (ssDNA), the stronger binding in the latter case indicates an important role of nonelectrostatic effects. Both a higher flexibility of ssDNA and a higher hydrophobicity due to the exposed bases are found to play a role, with the hydrophobic interaction argued to be more important. The significance of hydrophobic DNA−surfactant interaction is in line with other observations. The significance of nonelectrostatic effects is also indicated in significant differences in cac between different surfactants for ssDNA but not for dsDNA. For lower concentrations of DNA, the conductivity measurements presented an "anomalous" feature, i.e., a second inflection point for surfactant concentrations below the cac; this feature was not displayed at higher concentrations of DNA. The effect is attributed to the presence of a mixture of ss- and dsDNA molecules. Thus the stability of dsDNA is dependent on a certain ion atmosphere; at lower ion concentrations the electrostatic repulsions between the DNA strands become too strong compared to the attractive interactions, and there is a dissociation into the individual strands. Fluorescence microscopy studies, performed at much lower DNA concentrations, demonstrated a transformation of dsDNA from an extended "coil" state to a compact "globule" condition, with a broad concentration region of coexistence of coils and globules. The onset of DNA compaction coincides roughly with the cac values obtained from conductivity measurements. This is in line with the observed independence of cac on the DNA concentration, together with the assumption that the onset of binding corresponds to an initiation of DNA compaction. No major changes in either the onset of compaction or complete compaction were observed as the surfactant headgroup was made more polar.

Item Type:Article
Source:Copyright of this article belongs to American Chemical Society.
ID Code:108618
Deposited On:01 Feb 2018 11:19
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