A continuous assay for DNA cleavage using molecular break lights.

John B. Biggins, James R. Prudent, David J. Marshall, Jon S. Thorson

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Exploring the properties of molecules that cleave DNA (i.e., enzymatic nucleases, chemical footprinting agents, and naturally occurring DNA cleaving antibiotics) has been an ongoing process with benefits extending toward both laboratory and clinical applications. Despite the progress that has been made toward understanding the mechanics of DNA cleavage, a simple and continuous assay for detecting DNA cleavage has been lacking. Herein, we describe the molecular break light assay, wherein a single oligo-nucleotide modified by a 5'-fluorophore-3'-quencher pair adopting a stem-loop structure with an appropriate DNA recognition site, provides for the rapid assaying of DNA cleavage with high sensitivity. Furthermore, the described methodology is highly convenient in that it is readily adaptable to common laboratory fluorometers and multi-well plate/ array systems, which may provide the basis for high-throughput screening of novel DNA cleaving agents. This assay may also be further extended to natural or "unnatural" transcription factor protection assay systems.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)83-92
Number of pages10
JournalMethods in Molecular Biology
StatePublished - 2006

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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