Optimization of Spectroscopic and Electrophoretic Properties of Energy Transfer Primers

S C Hung, R A Mathies, A N Glazer

Anal Biochem. 1997 Oct 1;252(1):78-88.

PMID: 9324944


We have synthesized and characterized the spectroscopic properties of 56 energy transfer (ET) fluorescent dye-labeled primers differing in (i) the spacing between the donor and acceptor, (ii) the nature of the spacer (either oligonucleotide or polydideoxyribose phosphate), (iii) the primer sequence (M13 (-40), M13 (-21), M13 reverse, SP6, T3, and T7 priming sequences), and (iv) the dyes chosen as the donor (6-carboxyfluorescein, F; or 3-(epsilon-carboxypentyl)-3'-ethyl-5,5'-dimethyloxacarbocyanine, C) and acceptor (F; 5 & 6-carboxyrhodamine-110, R110; 6-carboxyrhodamine-6G, G; N,N,N',N'-tetramethyl-6-carboxyrhodamine, T; and 6-carboxy-X-rhodamine, R) chromophores. This study led to the development of two significantly improved ET primer sets for multiple-color analyses. These primers are named using the convention D-N-A, where D is the donor, A is the acceptor, and N is the number of nucleotides between the donor and the acceptor. The primer set C4R110, C4G, C4T, and C4R provides acceptor emissions of high spectral purity with donor:acceptor emission ratios of < 0.002 for C4G, < 0.004 for C4T, and < 0.005 for C4R and excellent matching in the electrophoretic mobilities of single-base extension DNA fragments. The C4R110, C4G, C4T, and C4R set is valuable for diagnostic applications where minimization of crosstalk between different labels is of particular importance. The set C10R110, C10G, C10T, and C10R, which uses only rhodamine dyes as acceptors, shows significantly improved matching in the electrophoretic mobilities of single-base extension DNA fragments over the previously described set C10F, C10G, C10T, and C10R and is the best available for sequencing.

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