We use optical tweezers to perform stretching experiments on DNA molecules when interacting with the drugs daunomycin and ethidium bromide, which intercalate the DNA molecule. Our results show that the persistence length of the DNA-drug complexes increases strongly as the drug concentration increases up to some critical value. Above this critical value, the persistence length decreases abruptly and remains approximately constant for larger drug concentrations, at least in the concentration range used in our experiments. Measured intercalators critical concentrations for the persistence length transition coincide with the reported values for the helix-coil transition of DNA-drug complexes obtained from sedimentation experiments. The contour length of the molecules increases monotonically and saturates as the drug concentration increases. The neighbor exclusion model fits to our results for the total drug concentration as a function of the relative increase of the contour length.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Brazilian agencies: Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), FAPEMIG, FINEP-PRONEX, Instituto do Milênio de Nanotecnologia e Instituto do Milênio de Óptica Não-linear, and Fotônica e Biofotônica-MCT. One of the authors (M.S.R.) acknowledges support by LNLS.