When fluorescently tagged oligonucleotides are located near metal surfaces, their emission intensity is impacted by both electromagnetic effects (i.e., quenching and/or enhancement of emission) and the structure of the nucleic acids (e.g., random coil, hairpin, or duplex). We present experiments exploring the effect of label position and secondary structure in oligonucleotide probes as a function of hybridization buffer, which impacts the percentage of double-stranded probes on the surface after exposure to complementary DNA. Nanowires containing identifiable patterns of Au and Ag segments were used as the metal substrates in this work, which enabled us to directly compare different dye positions in a single multiplexed experiment and differences in emission for probes attached to the two metals. The observed metal-dye separation dependence for unstructured surface-bound oligonucleotides is highly sensitive to hybridization efficiency, due to substantial changes in DNA extension from the surface upon hybridization. In contrast, fluorophore labeled oligonucleotides designed to form hairpin secondary structures analogous to solution-phase molecular beacon probes are relatively insensitive to hybridization efficiency, since the folded form is quenched and therefore does not appreciably impact the observed distance-dependence of the response. Differences in fluorescence patterning on Au and Ag were noted as a function of not only chromophore identity but also metal-dye separation. For example, emission intensity for TAMRA-labeled oligonucleotides changed from brighter on Ag for 24-base probes to brighter on Au for 48-base probes. We also observed fluorescence enhancement at the ends of nanowires and at surface defects where heightened electromagnetic fields affect the fluorescence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Colloid and Surface Chemistry