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ACS Nano. 2009 Feb 24;3(2):425-33. doi: 10.1021/nn800727x.

Fluorescent DNA nanotags based on a self-assembled DNA tetrahedron.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry and Center for Nucleic Acids Science and Technology, Carnegie Mellon University, 4400 Fifth Avenue, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15213-3890, USA.


Progress in fluorescence detection and imaging technologies depends on the availability of fluorescent labels with strong light absorption/emission characteristics. We have synthesized intercalator dye arrays on a compact 3-dimensional DNA-tetrahedron nanostructure. The template tolerates the structural distortions introduced by intercalation and allows concentration of multiple fluorophores within a small volume, resulting in brightly fluorescent nanotags with effective extinction coefficients in the order of 10(6) M(-1) cm(-1). Efficient energy transfer from intercalated donor dyes to covalently attached acceptor dyes in the nanotags allows the emission wavelength to be shifted to the red relative to the excitation light, providing wavelength tunability. The compact nature of the supramolecular DNA tetrahedron also provides a protective medium for the fluorophores, leading to improved photostability and enhanced resistance to nuclease digestion, relative to one- or two-dimensional nanotags described previously.

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