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Nucleic acids research

Fluorescent probing for RNA molecules by an unnatural base-pair system.


PMID 17693436

Abstract

Fluorescent labeling of nucleic acids is widely used in basic research and medical applications. We describe the efficient site-specific incorporation of a fluorescent base analog, 2-amino-6-(2-thienyl)purine (s), into RNA by transcription mediated by an unnatural base pair between s and pyrrole-2-carbaldehyde (Pa). The ribonucleoside 5'-triphosphate of s was site-specifically incorporated into RNA, by T7 RNA polymerase, opposite Pa in DNA templates. The fluorescent intensity of s in RNA molecules changes according to the structural environment. The site-specific s labeling of RNA hairpins and tRNA molecules provided characteristic fluorescent profiles, depending on the labeling sites, temperature and Mg2+ concentration. The Pa-containing DNA templates can be amplified by PCR using 7-(2-thienyl)imidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (Ds), another pairing partner of Pa. This site-specific fluorescent probing by the unnatural pair system including the s-Pa and Ds-Pa pairs provides a powerful tool for studying the dynamics of the local structural features of 3D RNA molecules and their intra- and intermolecular interactions.

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