0066-4 154/85/0701 - 1 1 5 1 $2.00 CIMINO ET AL PERSPECTIVES AND SUMMARY Psoralens comprise the most important class of photochemical reagents for the investigation of nucleic acid structure and function. They have been used for detennining the structure of both DNA and RNA in viral, bacterial, and mammalian systems, and also for studying functional questions, such as the role of the small nuclear RNAs in processing heteronuclear RNA. A list of some of the major applications of these compounds during the last ten years is presented in Table P_soralens are unique i n their ability to freeze helical regions o f nucleic acid. Psoralens react with DNA and RNA by a two-step mechanism. First, the planar psoralen molecule intercalates within a double helical region of nucleic acid. Covalent addition of the psoralen is effected by controlled irradiation into an absorption band of the psoralen molecule. Stable, but photoreversible, covalent adducts fonn with pyrimidine bases at one or both ends of the psoralen molecule. By fonning covalent crosslinks with base-paired structures, psorÂ alens can probe both static and dynamic structural features. Psoralens can trap long-range interactions which are in dynamic equilibrium. This allows both the occurrence of
Annual Review of Biochemistry – Annual Reviews
Published: Jul 1, 1985
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