Richard Owczarzy

Biophysical Chemistry, 2015, Vol. 198, pp 36-44.

Cy3 and Cy5 dyes attached to oligonucleotide terminus stabilize DNA duplexes: Predictive thermodynamic model

Bernardo G. Moreira, Yong You and Richard Owczarzy
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Cyanine dyes are important chemical modifications of oligonucleotides exhibiting intensive and stable fluorescence at visible light wavelengths. When Cy3 or Cy5 dye is attached to 5′ end of a DNA duplex, the dye stacks on the terminal base pair and stabilizes the duplex. Using optical melting experiments, we have determined thermodynamic parameters that can predict the effects of the dyes on duplex stability quantitatively (ΔGo, Tm). Both Cy dyes enhance duplex formation by 1.2 kcal/mol on average, however, this Gibbs energy contribution is sequence-dependent. If the Cy5 is attached to a pyrimidine nucleotide of pyrimidine-purine base pair, the stabilization is larger compared to the attachment to a purine nucleotide. This is likely due to increased stacking interactions of the dye to the purine of the complementary strand. Dangling (unpaired) nucleotides at duplex terminus are also known to enhance duplex stability. Stabilization originated from the Cy dyes is significantly larger than the stabilization due to the presence of dangling nucleotides. If both the dangling base and Cy3 are present, their thermodynamic contributions are approximately additive. New thermodynamic parameters improve predictions of duplex folding, which will help design oligonucleotide sequences for biophysical, biological, engineering, and nanotechnology applications.

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