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Compatible solute influence on nucleic acids: Many questions but few answers

Author(s): Kurz Matthias

Journal: Saline Systems
ISSN 1746-1448

Volume: 4;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 6;
Date: 2008;
Original page

Abstract Compatible solutes are small organic osmolytes including but not limited to sugars, polyols, amino acids, and their derivatives. They are compatible with cell metabolism even at molar concentrations. A variety of organisms synthesize or take up compatible solutes for adaptation to extreme environments. In addition to their protective action on whole cells, compatible solutes display significant effects on biomolecules in vitro. These include stabilization of native protein and nucleic acid structures. They are used as additives in polymerase chain reactions to increase product yield and specificity, but also in other nucleic acid and protein applications. Interactions of compatible solutes with nucleic acids and protein-nucleic acid complexes are much less understood than the corresponding interactions of compatible solutes with proteins. Although we may begin to understand solute/nucleic acid interactions there are only few answers to the many questions we have. I summarize here the current state of knowledge and discuss possible molecular mechanisms and thermodynamics.
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