Aptamers Switch on Fluorescence of Triphenylmethane Dyes

Jeremy R. Babendure, Stephen R. Adams, Roger Y. Tsien

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

291 Scopus citations


MG and SRB aptamers, which are short RNA sequences originally selected only for binding to malachite green or sulforhodamine B, can greatly enhance the fluorescence of normally nonfluorescent triphenylmethane dyes. MG aptamer enhances the quantum yields of malachite green (MG) and a novel rigidized derivative, indolinyl malachite green (IMG) by >2000-fold. SRB aptamer brightens patent blue V and VF by >90-fold. These enhancements are specific because MG aptamer has no effect on patent blue dyes and SRB aptamer has little or no effect on MG and IMG. Such sequence-specific fluorescence labeling of short RNA motifs is a first step toward genetically encodable fusion tags for imaging selected RNAs in vitro and in cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)14716-14717
Number of pages2
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number48
StatePublished - Dec 3 2003
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry

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