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    Nucleic acids are strongly negatively charged, and thus electrostatic interactions-screened by ions in solution-play an important role in governing their ability to fold and participate in biomolecular interactions. The negative charge creates a region, known as the ion atmosphere, in which cation and anion concentrations are perturbed from their bulk values. Ion counting experiments quantify the ion atmosphere by measuring the preferential ion interaction coefficient: the net total number of excess ions above, or below, the number expected due to the bulk concentration. The results of such studies provide important constraints on theories, which typically predict the full three-dimensional distribution of the screening cloud. This article reviews the state of nucleic acid ion counting measurements and critically analyzes their ability to test both analytical and simulation-based models. © The Author(s) 2016. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Nucleic Acids Research.


    David R Jacobson, Omar A Saleh. Counting the ions surrounding nucleic acids. Nucleic acids research. 2017 Feb 28;45(4):1596-1605

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    PMID: 28034959

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