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Pure Appl. Chem., 2007, Vol. 79, No. 4, pp. 801-809

Porphyrins as spectroscopic sensors for conformational studies of DNA

Milan Balaz, Klaus Bitsch-Jensen, Angela Mammana, George A. Ellestad, Koji Nakanishi and Nina Berova

Department of Chemistry, Columbia University, 3000 Broadway, New York, NY 10027, USA

Abstract: Molecular systems containing two or more interacting porphyrins show remarkable spectroscopic features that allow for a very sensitive detection of conformational changes on the microscale level by different methods, such as fluorescence and electronic circular dichroism (ECD). Covalent porphyrin-DNA assemblies can provide a CD profile (exciton couplet) within the porphyrin Soret band region which is very diagnostic for DNA conformational changes. Additionally, covalently linked porphyrins have been shown to function as DNA molecular caps and to stabilize the non-self-complementary non-Watson-Crick guanine-adenine DNA sequence via their strong π-π stacking.