Polyelectrolyte properties of biopolymers: Conductivity and secondary structure of polyriboadenylic acid and its salts in solutions

I. A. Kuznetsov, O. V. Vorontsova, A. G. Kozlov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Polyriboadenylates of alkali metals were obtained from (1) K+‐poly(A) (salts I) and (2) H+‐poly( A) (salts II) by the ion‐exchange method. The conductivity of these salts as well as of H+‐poly(A) were studied. Salts I and II of the same counterion were shown to have significantly different conductivity coefficients (f) and polyion conductances (λ p0). The charge density parameter (ζ) was 1.3 and 2.5, respectively, with λ p0 equal to 44 and 83 ohm−1 cm2 mole−1 for poly(A)‐I and poly (A)‐II salts, respectively. This is credited to the difference in the conformations of corresponding polyions. The linear dependence of equivalent conductivity on the square root of polymer concentration (Kohlrausch coordinates), earlier obtained for DNA, is also satisfied for the studied polynucleotides. A comparison of the slopes of straight lines in Kohlrausch coordinates for poly(A), simple electrolytes, and for earlier studied polyribouridylic acid salts lends credence to the concepts, developed by a number of authors, that DNA can act as a “buffer” against the ion–ion interaction in concentrated electrolyte solutions. Using the approximation that the polyion conductance is independent of the counterion nature, parameter f (agreeing in this case with Eisenberg parameter ϕ) has been shown to decrease as the polynucleotide concentration is increased; the decrease is caused by the relaxation effect. The transference numbers of counterions, which have negative values in poly (A)‐II solutions, grow with the increase in polymer concentration; the higher the ζ, the more apparent is this increase. This is explained by the increase in the fraction of conductivity along the polyion chains (“surface” conductivity) with the growth of polyelectrolyte concentration.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)65-76
Number of pages12
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1991


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