Observation of coherent delocalized phonon-like modes in DNA under physiological conditions

González-Jiminéz, M. , Ramakrishnan, G., Harwood, T., Lapthorn, A. J., Kelly, S. M., Ellis, E. M. and Wynne, K. (2016) Observation of coherent delocalized phonon-like modes in DNA under physiological conditions. Nature Communications, 7, 11799. (doi:10.1038/ncomms11799) (PMID:27248361) (PMCID:PMC4895446)

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Abstract

Underdamped terahertz-frequency delocalized phonon-like modes have long been suggested to play a role in the biological function of DNA. Such phonon modes involve the collective motion of many atoms and are prerequisite to understanding the molecular nature of macroscopic conformational changes and related biochemical phenomena. Initial predictions were based on simple theoretical models of DNA. However, such models do not take into account strong interactions with the surrounding water, which is likely to cause phonon modes to be heavily damped and localized. Here we apply state-of-the-art femtosecond optical Kerr effect spectroscopy, which is currently the only technique capable of taking low-frequency (GHz to THz) vibrational spectra in solution. We are able to demonstrate that phonon modes involving the hydrogen bond network between the strands exist in DNA at physiologically relevant conditions. In addition, the dynamics of the solvating water molecules is slowed down by about a factor of 20 compared with the bulk.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Kelly, Dr Sharon and Lapthorn, Dr Adrian and Gonzalez Jimenez, Dr Mario and Ramakrishnan, Dr Gopakumar and Wynne, Professor Klaas
Authors: González-Jiminéz, M., Ramakrishnan, G., Harwood, T., Lapthorn, A. J., Kelly, S. M., Ellis, E. M., and Wynne, K.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Molecular Cell and Systems Biology
College of Science and Engineering > School of Chemistry
Journal Name:Nature Communications
Publisher:Nature Publishing Group
ISSN:2041-1723
Published Online:01 June 2016
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2016 The Authors
First Published:First published in Nature Communications 7:11799
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License
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