Letter | Published:

Effect of Electrostatic Fields on Cell Mitosis

Naturevolume 199page1306 (1963) | Download Citation



FROM quantum mechanical calculations on the electronic structure of DNA1–3 a mechanism was proposed for the onset of DNA-duplication3,4. It has been assumed that the mobile π-electrons of the macromolecule, which, according to Eley and Spivey5, cause the semi-conductivity of DNA, can be polarized by the effect of local electrostatic fields present inside the cell. As a result of polarization free electron charges may appear at the end of the DNA double-helix; the repulsion between the charged nucleotide bases at the ends of the molecules may lead to the breaking of the bonds between them and thus induce the unwinding of the double-helix3,5. The unwinding of the helix being, according to the Watson–Crick duplication mechanism6, the starting point of DNA duplication, it seemed reasonable to suppose that the appearance of free charges at the ends of the molecule might induce DNA multiplication. It was therefore decided to examine the behaviour of cell cultures exposed to the effect of strong electrostatic fields4.

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    Ladik, J., Acta Phys. Hung., 11, 239 (1960).

  2. 2

    Ladik, J., and Appel, K., Preprint No. 78, Uppsala Quantum Chem. Group (1962).

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    Hoffmann, T. A., and Ladik, J., Adv. Chem. Phys. (in the press).

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    Hoffmann, T. A., and Ladik, J., Cancer Res., 21, 474 (1961).

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    Eley, D. D., and Spivey, D. I., Trans. Farad. Soc., 58, 411 (1962).

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    Watson, J. D., and Crick, F. H. C., Nature, 171, 964 (1953).

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    Paul, E., Cell and Tissue Cultures (Livingstone, London, 1960).

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    Řeřábek, J., and Řeřábek, E., Leitfaden der Gewebezüchtung (Fischer Verlag, Jena, 1960).

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Author notes

    • T. A. HOFFMANN

    Present address: A.B. Atomenergi, Studsvik, Sweden


  1. Central Institute for Oncology, Budapest

    • L. BOZÓKY
  2. Department of Histology and Embryology, University Medical School, Budapest

  3. Research Institute for Telecommunication, Budapest

    • T. A. HOFFMANN
  4. Central Research Institute for Chemistry of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest

    • J. LADIK


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