Phenoxy Radical Reactivity of Nucleic Acids: Practical Implications for Biotinylation

Chembiochem. 2021 Apr 16;22(8):1400-1404. doi: 10.1002/cbic.202000854. Epub 2021 Jan 27.


Recent advances in peroxidase-mediated biotin tyramide (BT) signal amplification technology have resulted in high-resolution and subcellular compartment-specific mapping of protein and RNA localization. Horseradish peroxidase (HRP) in the presence of H2 O2 is known to activate phenolic compounds for phenoxy radical reaction with nucleic acids, where biotinylation by BT is a practical example. BT reactivity with RNA and DNA is not understood in detail. We report that BT phenoxy radicals react in a sequence-independent manner with guanosine bases in RNA. In contrast, DNA reactivity with BT cannot be detected by our methods under the same conditions. Remarkably, we show that fluorescein conjugates DNA rapidly and selectively reacts with BT phenoxy radicals, allowing convenient and practical biotinylation of DNA on fluorescein with retention of fluorescence.

Keywords: conjugation; nucleic acids; peroxides; radicals; reaction mechanisms.