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Anal Biochem. 2004 Aug 15;331(2):243-54.

Possible sources of dye-related signal correlation bias in two-color DNA microarray assays.

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Molecular Probes Inc., 29851 Willow Creek Road, Eugene, OR 97402, USA.


DNA microarray analyses commonly use two spectrally distinct fluorescent labels to simultaneously compare different mRNA pools. Signal correlation bias currently limits accepted resolution to twofold changes in gene expression. This bias was investigated by (i) examining fluorescence and absorption spectra and changes in relative fluorescence of DNAs labeled with the Cy3, Cy5, Alexa Fluor 555, and Alexa Fluor 647 dyes and by (ii) using homotypic hybridization assays to compare the Cy dye pair with the Alexa Fluor dye pair. Cy3 or Cy5 dye-labeled DNA exhibited reduced fluorescence and absorption anomalies that were eliminated by nuclease treatment, consistent with fluorescence quenching that arises from dye-dye or dye-DNA-dye interactions. Alexa Fluor 555 and Alexa Fluor 647 dye-labeled DNA exhibited little or no such anomalies. In microarray hybridization, the Alexa Fluor dye pair provided higher signal correlation coefficients (R2) than did the Cy dye pair; at the 95% prediction level, a 1.3-fold change in gene expression was significant using the Alexa Fluor dye pair. Lowered signal correlation of the Cy dye pair was associated with high variance in Cy5 dye signals. These results indicate that fluorescence quenching may be a source of signal bias associated with the Cy dye pair.

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