The binding of Hg(II) to poly(dA-dT) has been examined with proton NMR spectroscopy. Addition of HgCl2 between r (Hg2+/nucleotide) = 0 and 0.25 results in loss of the exchangeable imino N3H resonance of thymine, indicating preferential binding at this site. The nonexchangeable base resonances AH8, AH2, and TH6 shift their intensity downfield in a cooperative manner, indicating complexation which is slow on the NMR time scale and changes in the polymer conformation upon binding. At r = 0.25, the polymer is cross-linked, and an increase in temperature does not result in denaturation of the polymer, as evidenced by the thymine proton resonance chemical shifts. The chemical shifts of the AH2 and T(CH3)5 base resonances allow some general conclusions to be made about the stereochemistry of this complex.
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