Many DNA-probe assays utilize oligonucleotide-coated microparticles for capture of complementary nucleic acids from solution. During development of these assays, as well as in other particle-based nucleic acid applications, it is useful to know both the amount of duplex formation expected under various experimental conditions and the coating density of the capture oligonucleotide on the particle surface. We examined the simplest form of a DNA-probe microparticle assay: hybridization of a particle-bound capture oligonucleotide to its solution-phase complement. Fluorescein-labeled solution-phase oligonucleotide was hybridized to varying amounts of particles, and the amount of labeled oligonucleotide remaining in solution at equilibrium was measured. We present a simple two-state, all-or-none model for bimolecular hybridization of non-selfcomplementary sequences that can be used to calculate the equilibrium dissociation constant (Kd) from hybridization data. With experimental conditions where both the Kd value and the concentration of capture probe in the reaction are small relative to the concentration of labeled complementary oligonucleotide in the reaction, density of the capture probe on the particle's surface can also be determined. Kd values for particle-based hybridization were different from those obtained from solution-phase thermodynamic parameters. At higher temperatures, hybridization on particles was more efficient than hybridization in solution.
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