[30] Picogram detection of stable dye-DNA intercalation complexes with two-color laser-excited confocal fluorescence gel scanner Academic Article uri icon


  • The stable complexes between highly fluorescent, polyfunctional intercalators and dsDNA can be used to detect dsDNA in agarose gels at picogram levels and for multicolor detection of multiplexed dsDNA fragments. Development of additional DNA-binding fluorophores with appropriate spectroscopic properties will expand the range of applications. In principle, the DNA-dye intercalation complexes represent a more sensitive alternative to an established approach to fluorescent labeling and detection of restriction fragments by ligation to single-stranded short oligonucleotides labeled with different fluorochromes, followed by separation on denaturing polyacrylamide gels. The latter technique gives near single-base resolution up to 400 bases and the ability to quantitate fragment size up to 2000 bases, and has been successfully applied to cosmid mapping. Detection of DNA fragments as intercalation complexes requires that the separations be performed on agarose gels under nondenaturing conditions. Such conditions have been used for extensive mapping of yeast cosmids with postelectrophoresis staining with ethidium bromide. For the patterns on agarose gels, the magnitude of the "error window," which specifies how similar two fragments must be before the corresponding fragments in different digests are paired, was reported to be strongly size dependent. The error window was expanded by a factor of 1.3 for fragments from 400 to 600 bp, 1.2 for fragments from 600 to 800 bp, and 1.1 for fragments from 800 to 1000 bp. Moreover, it was necessary to introduce corrections for systematic differences between size estimates taken from two different gels. For the multiplexing procedure described here, the size estimates for fragments from 600 bp to over 23 kbp were in close agreement with actual sizes as determined from DNA sequence (Table I), and certainly within the error windows given above. The multiplexing procedure should also minimize errors introduced by gel-to-gel variations in mobility, because the standard and unknowns are always run in the same lanes. Kohara et al. established a physical map of almost the entire Escherichia coli chromosome by analysis of a large genomic library. In this case, partial restriction digests were used to generate patterns of fragments and the mapping was performed by agarose gel electrophoresis. The disadvantage of this approach is that fewer fragments are generated. However, this is compensated for by the fact that partial digests reveal the order of the fragments produced and thus greatly increase the amount of information relevant to the question of overlap between different DNA fragments.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

author list (cited authors)

  • Rye, H. S., Yue, S., Quesada, M. A., Haugland, R. P., Mathies, R. A., & Glazer, A. N.

citation count

  • 54

publication date

  • January 1993