Superoxide anion (O2.-) was photogenerated upon illumination of riboflavin in fluorescent light. The rate of O2.- formation was stimulated by double stranded DNA but not by denatured DNA or RNA. Depurinated DNA, which was predominantly depleted in guanine residues, did not exhibit the stimulatory effect, indicating an interaction of riboflavin, or active oxygen species derived from it, with guanine bases. Also, the stimulation of O2.- photogeneration was not observed with ethidium bromide but was seen with proflavin-intercalated DNA. Since ethidium bromide intercalates preferentially between purines and pyrimidines, and proflavin prefers dA-dT rich sites, these results were interpreted to suggest that the interaction of riboflavin with DNA is mainly with GC or CG base pairs.

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