TCBG Seminar

Computational Approaches to DNA Electrostatics

Dr. George Pack
University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford
Rockford, IL

Monday, February 9, 1998
3:00 pm (CT)
3269 Beckman Institute


The talk will begin with the Poisson-Boltzmann- and Monte-Carlo-calculated competition between monovalent and divalent cations for the DNA surface from the perspective of an energy-based binding criterion. Calculations of the hydrogen-ion concentration near the surface of DNA have suggested a two to threefold increase over the bulk-solution value; the consequence of these acidic domains on the rate of acid-catalyzed reactions at the DNA surface provides an illustration of the role of electrostatic forces in nucleic acid biochemistry. Experiments showing the alteration of the pKas of amino acids covalently attached to the minor groove of DNA will be compared to Poisson-Boltzmann calculations. These latter calculations show that it is essential to accurately represent the dielectric properties of the system in these continuum-based techniques; approaches to the accurate representation of the spatial variation of the dielectric constant will be discussed.

Tea and coffee will be served in R3151 Beckman Institute at 2:15pm.

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