Flow dichroism of capsid DNA phages. II. Effect of DNA deletions and intercalating dyes

Stephen B. Hall, John A. Schellman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The flow linear dichroism of bacteriophage λ and its deletion mutants, λ b2 and λ b221, was determined. The hydrodynamic behavior of the three phages differed slightly, but the magnitude of the dichroism was substantially the same with 〈cos2θμp〉 = 0.364, 0.368, and 0.372, respectively. The dichroism of intercalating dyes combined with bacteriophage was used as a further probe of phage structure. The reduced dichroism from proflavin with T4 showed no change with time during the reaction, but the interpretation of the ligand dichroism is complicated by an alteration of the hydrodynamic behavior of the phage–dye complex relative to the phage alone. Ethidium with λ also produced a stable reduced dichroism, but the signal indicated an average orientation of intercalated dye that is different from the average base orientation. The reduced dichroism of ethidium changes with time as it penetrates λ b2, eventually approaching the dichroism of the nucleotide bases. The implication of these findings on the plausibility of various simple DNA packing models is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2011-2031
Number of pages21
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1982

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Organic Chemistry


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