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Am J Pathol. 1998 Apr;152(4):897-902.

Biotin-labeled hairpin oligonucleotides: probes to detect double-strand breaks in DNA in apoptotic cells.

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Huffington Center on Aging and Department of Cell Biology, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas 77030, USA.


Hairpin oligonucleotides were synthesized with stems ending in a double-stranded structure, which can be ligated to double-strand breaks in DNA, and with loops that contain nucleotides modified by the attachment of biotin. These probes specifically and sensitively detect double-strand breaks in apoptotic cells. Localization of these probes is restricted to areas of chromatin characteristic of apoptosis, whereas much more diffuse labeling was obtained when all available 3' DNA ends were labeled by terminal transferase. In principle, hairpin oligonucleotide probes can be designed with any type of 3' or 5' overhang complementary to double-strand DNA termini being detected.

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