PAPER: DNA interactions with a methylene blue redox indicator depend on the DNA length and are sequence specific

Farjami, E.; Clima, L.; Gothelf, K. V.; Ferapontova, E. E.

Analyst, 2010, 135, 1443–1448, doi: 10.1039/c0an00049c

Danish National Research Foundation: Centre for DNA Nanotechnology, Department of Chemistry and Interdisciplinary Nanoscience Center (iNANO), Aarhus University, Langelandsgade 140, DK-8000, Aarhus C, Denmark


A DNA molecular beacon approach was used for the analysis of interactions between DNA and Methylene Blue (MB) as a redox indicator of a hybridization event. DNA hairpin structures of different length and guanine (G) content were immobilized onto gold electrodes in their folded states through the alkanethiol linker at the 5′-end. Binding of MB to the folded hairpin DNA was electrochemically studied and compared with binding to the duplex structure formed by hybridization of the hairpin DNA to a complementary DNA strand. Variation of the electrochemical signal from the DNA-MB complex was shown to depend primarily on the DNA length and sequence used: the G-C base pairs were the preferential sites of MB binding in the duplex. For short 20 nts long DNA sequences, the increased electrochemical response from MB bound to the duplex structure was consistent with the increased amount of bound and electrochemically readable MB molecules (i.e. MB molecules that are available for the electron transfer (ET) reaction with the electrode). With longer DNA sequences, the balance between the amounts of the electrochemically readable MB molecules bound to the hairpin DNA and to the hybrid was opposite: a part of the MB molecules bound to the long-sequence DNA duplex seem to be electrochemically mute due to long ET distance. The increasing electrochemical response from MB bound to the short-length DNA hybrid contrasts with the decreasing signal from MB bound to the long-length DNA hybrid and allows an “off”-“on” genosensor development.

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