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Theory of the melting transition of synthetic polynucleotides: Evaluation of the stacking free energy

Authors
Journal
Journal of Molecular Biology
0022-2836
Publisher
Elsevier
Publication Date
Volume
9
Issue
1
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1016/s0022-2836(64)80086-3

Abstract

Expressions are derived for the expected form of the helix-coil transitions of certain types of synthetic polynucleotides. The steepness of the transition is related to the “stacking free energy” in the helix; this can be thought of as the free energy gained when base pairs are stacked on each other in the helical configuration. Applying the theory to the results of Inman & Baldwin (1964) on dAT† and mixtures of dC and dI, we estimate the stacking free energy to be about 7 kcal, per mole of base pairs. The stacking free energy must therefore be the source of a major part of the free energy stabilizing the helix.

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