Enhanced Diagnostic Tools
Detection of dye-labeled nucleic acids via fluorescence reporting has become a routine technique in molecular biology laboratories. Given this, it is important to note that the quantum yield of fluorophores attached to nucleic acids is dependent upon a number of factors. One of these is the choice of the base that lies adjacent to the fluorescent molecule. Fluorescence quenching by an adjacent guanosine nucleotide is an under-appreciated phenomenon that can significantly effect quantum yield. Depending upon the fluorophore, this effect can be as much as 40%.
The mechanism of fluorophore quenching has been explained by electron sharing/donor properties of the adjacent base (Nazarenko et al., 2002). Quenching of 2- aminopurine fluorescence in DNA is dominated by distance-dependent electron transfer from 2-aminopurine to guanosine (Kelly and Barton, 1999). Seidel et al. (1996) found that photo-induced electron transfer plays an important role in this type of quenching. The order of quenching efficiency is GA>C>T, if the nucleobase is oxidized (Seidel et al., 1996). Nazarenko et al. (2002) also report that quenching by adjacent nucleobases is dependent upon the location of the fluorophore within the oligonucleotide.
In one study, some of the practical aspects of fluorescence quenching by an adjacent guanosine nucleotide. A series of fluorescence-labeled oligonucleotides sharing the same core sequence was synthesized such that one of three commonly used fluorophores and each of the four possible adjacent nucleotides was present in each construct
Fluorescent Test Oligonucleotides Studied
The concentration of each oligonucleotide was normalized by OD260 in buffer (10mM Tris HCl (pH 8.3), 50mM KCl, 5mM MgCl2). Fluorescence measurements were made for a 200nM solution of each oligonucleotide on a PTI (Photon Technologies International) scanning fluorometer. Results for each of the three dyes are presented in figure 6. As can be seen both 3’ fluorescein and 5’ HEXTM (hexachlorofluorescein) displayed significant quenching when the adjacent nucleotide was guanosine. In contrast, the 3’ Cy3TM was little affected by the choice of adjacent nucleotide.
Fluorescence intensities at the emission maximum for each dye were normalized relative to the value obtained when the adjacent base is adenine. These data are shown in figure 6. Here, it is clear that an adjacent guanosine has the greatest affect on all three fluorophores even though it is minimal for Cy3TM. These results suggest that adjacent guanosine nucleotides should be avoided when designing oligonucleotides that contain a fluorescent reporter molecule.
Scanning fluorometer results obtained with the oligonucleotide constructs
Relative Fluorescence of Dyes Near Different Nucleotide Base
Relative fluorescence intensities of FAMTM, HEXTM, and Cy3TMas a function of the nucleotide adjacent to the fluorophore.
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