Ethanol-induced structural transitions of DNA on mica

Ye Fang, Thomas S. Spisz, Jan H. Hoh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


The effect of ethanol on the structure of DNA confined to mica in the presence of Mg2+ was examined by varying the ethanol concentration and imaging the DNA by atomic force microscopy. Contour length measurements of the DNA show a transition from all-B-form at 0% ethanol to all-A-form at > 25% ethanol. At intermediate ethanol concentrations, contour lengths suggest that individual molecules of air-dried DNA are trapped with mixed compositions of A-form and B-form. The relative composition depends on the ethanol concentration. Fitting the length distributions at intermediate ethanol concentrations to a simple binomial model results in an upper bound estimate for the A-form and B-form domains of ~ 54 bp in the individual molecules. In addition to length changes, the apparent persistence length of DNA decreases with increasing ethanol concentration. At high concentrations of ethanol (> 20%), DNA formed several higher order structures, including flower shaped condensates and toroids.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1943-1949
Number of pages7
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 15 1999
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


Dive into the research topics of 'Ethanol-induced structural transitions of DNA on mica'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this