The use of base pair specific DNA binding agents as affinity labels for the study of mammalian chromosomes

Research paper by K. F. Jorgenson, J. H. van de Sande, C. C. Lin

Indexed on: 01 Dec '78Published on: 01 Dec '78Published in: Chromosoma


The fluorochromes Hoechst 33258 and olivomycin are base pair specific DNA binding agents. The fluorescence enhancement of Hoechst 33258 and olivomycin in the presence of DNA can be directly related to the A-T and G-C content of the interacting DNA respectively. Cytological observations of metaphase chromosomes treated with these two compounds suggest that the fluorescent banding patterns produced are the reverse of one another. —Non-fluorescent base pair specific DNA binding agents have been used as counterstains in chromosome preparations to enhance the contrast of the banding patterns produced by the base specific fluorochromes. The non-fluorescent G-C specific antibiotic actinomycin-D enhanced the resolution of fluorescent bands produced by the A-T specific fluorochrome Hoechst 33258. Similarly the non-fluorescent A-T specific antibiotic netropsin was found to enhance resolution of the bands produced by the G-C specific fluorochrome olivomycin. Netropsin was also found to increase the differential fluorescent enhancement of complexes of olivomycin with DNAs of various base composition in solution. These findings suggest that counterstaining agents act through a base sequence dependent inhibition of subsequent binding by base pair specific fluorochromes.—The base specific DNA binding agents have been used to differentiate different types of constitutive heterochromatin in mammalian species, and to facilitate chromosome identification in somatic cell hybrids.