Immobilization of oligonucleotides with homo-oligomer tails onto amine-functionalized solid substrates and the effects on hybridization

Anke Pierik, J. Frits Dijksman, Johan Lub, Henk R. Stapert, Dirk J. Broer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Microarrays have become important tools for the detection and analysis of nucleic acid sequences. Photochemical (254 nm UV) DNA immobilization onto amine-functionalized substrates is often used in microarray fabrication and Southern blots, although details of this process and their effects on DNA functionality are not well understood. By using Cy5-labeled model oligonucleotides for UV immobilization and Cy3-labeled complementary sequences for hybridization, we measured independently the number of immobilized and hybridized oligonucleotides on the microarray surface. By using a two-color fluorescence LED setup and a novel method to compile the data, a full analysis has been made of the effects of oligonucleotide composition (length and sequence) on both immobilization and hybridization. Short homo-oligomer sequences (tails) of uracils, thymines, and, to a limited extent, guanines attached to a hybridization sequence improve immobilization. We propose a possible mechanism explaining the grafting of these nucleotides to amine-functionalized substrates, and we found evidence that the DNA backbone is possibly involved in the immobilization process. Hybridization, on the other hand, greatly improves as a function of tail length regardless of tail composition. On the basis of statistical arguments, the probes increasingly bind via their tail, with the hybridization sequence becoming more accessible to its complement. We conclude that all tails, sequence independent, improve hybridization signals, which is caused by either improved immobilization (especially thymine and uracil) or improved hybridization (most pronounced with guanine tails).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1191-1199
Number of pages9
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Feb 2010
Externally publishedYes


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