Considerations for the quantitative transduction of hybridization of immobilized DNA.


Immobilized single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) can be used as a selective ‘reagent’ to bind complementary DNA or RNA for applications such as the detection of pathogenic organisms, gene therapy agents and genetic mutations. The density of ssDNA on a surface will determine the charge density due to ionizable phosphate groups. Such a negatively charged interface will attract positive counter-ions from solution, which may result in a local ionic strength, pH and dielectric constant on the surface that is substantially different from that in bulk electrolyte solution.

It is the local conditions which influence the thermodynamics of hybridization, and this can studied by the melt temperature (Tm) of double-stranded DNA (dsDNA). Experimental work and theoretical models have been used to examine whether hybridization reactions on a surface can cause dynamic changes in local charge density, and therefore, changes in selectivity and drift in calibration for quantitative analysis. Organosilane chemistry has been used to covalently immobilize hexaethylene glycol linkers and to control the subsequent density of dT20 that was prepared by automated synthesis.

Fiber-optic biosensors based on fused silica that was coated with DNA were used in a total internal reflection fluorescence instrument to determine Tm from the dissociation of duplexes of fluorescein-labeled dA20 : dT20. The experimental results suggest that the thermodynamic stability of duplexes that are immobilized on a surface is dependent on the density of immobilized DNA and on the extent of hybridization of DNA.

The experimental results show that the thermodynamic stability of immobilized dsDNA is significantly different than that of dsDNA in bulk solution, and include observations of the variation of enthalpy at different ionic strengths, asymmetry in the melt curves, and the possibility of a reduced dielectric constant within a DNA layer relative to that in bulk solution.


Piunno, P.A., Watterson, J., Wust, C.C. and Krull, U.J., 1999. Considerations for the quantitative transduction of hybridization of immobilized DNA. Analytica chimica acta, 400(1), pp.73-89.

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