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ERIC Number: EJ940774
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Jun
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 30
ISSN: ISSN-0021-9584
How Do Structure and Charge Affect Metal-Complex Binding to DNA? An Upper-Division Integrated Laboratory Project Using Cyclic Voltammetry
Kulczynska, Agnieszka; Johnson, Reed; Frost, Tony; Margerum, Lawrence D.
Journal of Chemical Education, v88 n6 p801-805 Jun 2011
An advanced undergraduate laboratory project is described that integrates inorganic, analytical, physical, and biochemical techniques to reveal differences in binding between cationic metal complexes and anionic DNA (herring testes). Students were guided to formulate testable hypotheses based on the title question and a list of different metal complexes. Student teams synthesized the target complexes, such as tris(1,10-phenanthroline)cobalt(III) or tris(2,2'-bipyrydyl)cobalt(III), and characterized them by voltammetry and spectroscopy. Separately, DNA stock solutions were prepared and analyzed via published spectroscopic methods. Aliquots of the DNA solutions, added into a metal-complex solution, gave decreases in the cyclic voltammetry peak currents due to the slower diffusion rate of the DNA-metal complex. A nonlinear curve fit analysis of the 1:1 binding isotherms confirmed the literature result (unknown to students) of larger binding constants for the phenanthroline complex due to intercalative binding. Student team results were shared in a group meeting and assessment was by group reports and individual portfolios. The project was an effective way to link the various laboratory techniques common to the chemical disciplines and encouraged team building in a research atmosphere. (Contains 4 figures and 1 scheme.)
Division of Chemical Education, Inc and ACS Publications Division of the American Chemical Society. 1155 Sixteenth Street NW, Washington, DC 20036. Tel: 800-227-5558; Tel: 202-872-4600; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A