Probing specific sequences on single DNA molecules with bioconjugated fluorescent nanoparticles

Jason R. Taylor, Michelle M. Fang, Shuming Nie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Nanometer-sized fluorescent particles (latex nanobeads) have been covalently linked to DNA binding proteins to probe specific sequences on stretched single DNA molecules. In comparison with single organic fluorophores, these nanoparticle probes are brighter, are more stable against photobleaching, and do not suffer from intermittent on/off light emission (blinking). Specifically, we demonstrate that the site-specific restriction enzyme EcoRI can be conjugated to 20-nm fluorescent nanoparticles and that the resulting nanoconjugates display DNA binding and cleavage activities of the native enzyme. In the absence of cofactor magnesium ions, the EcoRI conjugates bind to specific sequences on double-stranded DNA but do not initiate enzymatic cutting. For single DNA molecules that are stretched and immobilized on a solid surface, nanoparticles bound at specific sites can be directly visualized by multicolor fluorescence microscopy. Direct observation of site-specific probes on single DNA molecules opens new possibilities in optical gene mapping and in the fundamental study of DNA-protein interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1979-1986
Number of pages8
JournalAnalytical Chemistry
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Analytical Chemistry


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