Binding of ethidium to bacteriophage T7 and T7 deletion mutants

Gary A. Griess, Philip Serwer, Paul M. Horowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Equilibrium binding of ethidium, quantitated by fluorescence enhancement, to DNA packaged in bacteriophage T7 and T7 deletion mutants has been compared with the binding of this dye to DNA released from its capsid (free DNA). During achievement of apparent equilibrium binding, no change in bacteriophage T7 structure occurred, by the criterion of agarose gel electrophoresis. However, excessive incubation with ethidium bromide caused detectable changes in bacteriophage structure, a possible explanation of disagreements in similar studies previously performed with T‐even bacteriophages. Scatchard plots for packaged DNA had a curvature greater than the previously demonstrated [Bresloff, J. L. & Crothers, D. M. (1981) Biochemistry 20, 3547–3553] curvature for free DNA. By treating plots for packaged DNA as though they were biphasic, it was found that binding to most sites occurred with an apparent association constant (Kap) 3.3–4.3 times lower than the Kap of free DNA. The number of these sites increased significantly as the density of packaged DNA was decreased by use of the deletion mutants. Values of ΔH° for these sites were negative and equal to the ΔH° for free DNA; values of ΔS° were positive and about half the ΔS° for free DNA. A second class of sites, roughly 1.2% of the total, had a significantly higher Kap and more negative ΔH° than those of the majority of sites.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1635-1646
Number of pages12
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 1985

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biomaterials
  • Organic Chemistry


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