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J Am Chem Soc. 2003 Dec 3;125(48):14716-7.

Aptamers switch on fluorescence of triphenylmethane dyes.

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  • 1Department of Pharmacology, Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California-San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92093-0647, USA.


MG and SRB aptamers, which are short RNA sequences originally selected only for binding to malachite green or sulforhodamine B, can greatly enhance the fluorescence of normally nonfluorescent triphenylmethane dyes. MG aptamer enhances the quantum yields of malachite green (MG) and a novel rigidized derivative, indolinyl malachite green (IMG) by >2000-fold. SRB aptamer brightens patent blue V and VF by >90-fold. These enhancements are specific because MG aptamer has no effect on patent blue dyes and SRB aptamer has little or no effect on MG and IMG. Such sequence-specific fluorescence labeling of short RNA motifs is a first step toward genetically encodable fusion tags for imaging selected RNAs in vitro and in cells.

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