Berberine: Complex with DNA

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Science  07 Nov 1969:
Vol. 166, Issue 3906, pp. 755-757
DOI: 10.1126/science.166.3906.755


A complex of calf-thymus DNA with berberine sediments in the analytical ultracentrifuge. The DNA produced systematic changes in the absorption spectrum of berberine which suggest that single alkaloid molecules bind to DNA. Flow dichroism of purines and pyrimidines and of berberine in the complex with DNA had the same signs and magnitudes. Berberine shifted the thermal strand separation profile of DNA to higher temperatures. Therefore, the alkaloid forms a complex with DNA, probably by intercalation.

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