Matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry of DNA using photocleavable biotin

Biomol Eng. 1999 Dec 31;16(1-4):127-33. doi: 10.1016/s1050-3862(99)00049-2.


Oligonucleotides containing a photocleavable biotin (5'-PC-biotin) were analyzed by matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization mass spectrometry (MALDI-MS) with wavelengths in the ultraviolet (UV) and infrared (IR) from solution and after capture on streptavidin-coated agarose or magnetic beads. The analysis was used to monitor the release of the oligonucleotides as a result of photochemical cleavage of the biotinylated linker. Near-UV pulses (UV-MALDI) led to predominant release of the photocleaved product. In contrast, only the uncleaved analyte was detected using IR pulses (IR-MALDI). Results from MALDI analysis are also presented for DNA containing a photocleavable 5'-amino group which can be covalently linked to a variety of activated surfaces and marker molecules. In a demonstration of this approach, a 5'-PC-biotinylated 49 nt RNA oligonucleotide was enzymatically synthesized using a PC-biotin-r(AG) dinucleotide primer, captured on streptavidin coated magnetic beads and analyzed by UV-MALDI. Potential applications of photocleavable linkers combined with MALDI for the analysis of nucleic acids are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Biotin*
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • DNA / genetics
  • Infrared Rays
  • Photochemistry
  • Protein Engineering
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization / methods*
  • Ultraviolet Rays


  • Biotin
  • DNA