Experimental approaches for investigating ion atmospheres around nucleic acids and proteins

Binhan Yu, Junji Iwahara

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Ionic interactions are crucial to biological functions of DNA, RNA, and proteins. Experimental research on how ions behave around biological macromolecules has lagged behind corresponding theoretical and computational research. In the 21st century, quantitative experimental approaches for investigating ionic interactions of biomolecules have become available and greatly facilitated examinations of theoretical electrostatic models. These approaches utilize anomalous small-angle X-ray scattering, atomic emission spectroscopy, mass spectrometry, or nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. We provide an overview on the experimental methodologies that can quantify and characterize ions within the ion atmospheres around nucleic acids, proteins, and their complexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2279-2285
Number of pages7
JournalComputational and Structural Biotechnology Journal
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Dynamics
  • Electrostatic interactions
  • Ion atmosphere
  • Ionic diffusion
  • Spatial distribution

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Structural Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Genetics
  • Computer Science Applications


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