PMID: 1643045Aug 11, 1992

DNA packaging induced by micellar aggregates: a novel in vitro DNA condensation system

R GhirlandoA Minsky


Evidence for a conceptually novel DNA packaging process is presented. X-ray scattering, electron microscopy, and circular dichroism measurements indicate that in the presence of positively charged micellar aggregates and flexible anionic polymers, such as negatively charged polypeptides or single-stranded RNA species, a complex is formed in which DNA molecules are partially embedded within a micellar scaffold and partially condensed into highly packed chiral structures. Based on studies of micelle-DNA and micelle-flexible anionic polymer systems, as well as on the known effects of a high charge density upon the micellar organization, a DNA packaging model is proposed. According to this model, the DNA induces the elongation of the micelles into rodlike aggregates, forming a closely packed matrix in which the DNA molecules are immobilized. In contrast, the flexible anionic polymers stabilize clusters of spherical micelles which are proposed to effect a capping of the rodlike micelles, thus arresting their elongation and creating surfactant-free segments of the DNA that are able to converge and collapse. Thus, unlike other in vitro DNA packaging systems, in which condensation follows encounters between charge-neutralized DNA molec...Continue Reading


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