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Nucleic Acids Res. Mar 15, 1997; 25(6): 1155–1161.
PMCID: PMC146580

Steric factors influencing hybridisation of nucleic acids to oligonucleotide arrays.


We have investigated the use of spacer molecules to reduce steric interference of the support on the hybridisation behaviour of immobilised oligonucleotides. These spacers are built up from a variety of monomeric units, using phosphoramidite chemistry, by condensation onto an amine-functionalised polypropylene support. The optimal spacer length was determined to be at least 40 atoms in length, giving up to 150-fold increase in the yield of hybridisation. The effects of different charged groups in the spacer were also examined, and it was shown that both positively and negatively charged groups in the spacer diminish the yield of hybridisation. Steric hindrance in hybridisation can also be a problem if the oligonucleotides attached to the support are too close to each other. Surface coverage was varied using a combination of cleavable and stable linkers, giving the highest hybridisation yields for surfaces containing approximately 50% of the maximum concentration of oligonucleotides.

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Selected References

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