Fluorescent reporter groups have served for many years as sensitive probes of macromolecular structure. Such probes can be especially useful in comparative studies such as detection of conformational changes and discrimination among structural models. Spectroscopic methods such as fluorescence are attractive because they are rapid, require small amounts of material, are nondestructive, can be carried out with commonly available equipment, and are relatively inexpensive. In addition, there is a rich library of theoretical and practical materials available to aid in data interpretation.The intrinsic fluorescence of most nucleic acids is too low to be useful in structural studies. Thus, it is necessary to incorporate a suitable reporter group to utilize fluorescence methods involving polynucleotide structure. A highly fluorescent adenine analog, 2-aminopurine, has long served in this capacity. The present article describes our use of 2-aminopurine as a probe of loop structures in quadruplex DNA. In particular, we show how knowledge of the relative intensity of 2-aminopurine emission as well as its sensitivity to exogenous quenching molecules such as acrylamide can aid in comparing crystal and solution structures of an oligonucleotide model of the human telomere and in discrimination among models containing tandem repeats of the telomeric quadruplex.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology