Divalent cations stabilize unstacked conformations of DNA and RNA by interacting with base pi systems.

@article{McFailIsom1998DivalentCS,
  title={Divalent cations stabilize unstacked conformations of DNA and RNA by interacting with base pi systems.},
  author={Lori McFail-Isom and Xiuqi Shui and Loren Dean Williams},
  journal={Biochemistry},
  year={1998},
  volume={37 49},
  pages={17105-11}
}
Nucleic acid structure, stability, and reactivity are governed substantially by cations. We propose that magnesium and other biological inorganic ions unstack bases of DNA and RNA. This unstacking function of cations opposes their previously accepted role in stabilizing DNA and RNA duplexes and higher assemblies. We show that cations interact favorably with pi-systems of nucleic acid bases. These cation-pi interactions require access of cations or their first hydration shells to faces of… CONTINUE READING