Electric field directed nucleic acid hybridization on microchips

Carl F. Edman, Daniel E. Raymond, David J. Wu, Eugene Tu, Ronald G. Sosnowski, William F. Butler, Michael Nerenberg, Michael J. Heller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

270 Scopus citations


Selection and adjustment of proper physical parameters enables rapid DNA transport, site selective concentration, and accelerated hybridization reactions to be carried out on active microelectronic arrays. These physical parameters include DC current, voltage, solution conductivity and buffer species. Generally, at any given current and voltage level, the transport or mobility of DNA is inversely proportional to electrolyte or buffer conductivity. However, only a subset of buffer species produce both rapid transport, site specific concentration and accelerated hybridization. These buffers include zwitterionic and low conductivity species such as: D- and L-histidine; 1- and 3-methylhistidines; carnosine; imidazole; pyridine; and collidine. In contrast, buffers such as glycine, β-alanine and γ-amino-butyric acid (GABA) produce rapid transport and site selective concentration but do not facilitate hybridization. Our results suggest that the ability of these buffers (histidine, etc.) to facilitate hybridization appears linked to their ability to provide electric field concentration of DNA; to buffer acidic conditions present at the anode; and in this process acquire a net positive charge which then shields or diminishes repulsion between the DNA strands, thus promoting hybridization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4907-4914
Number of pages8
JournalNucleic acids research
Issue number24
StatePublished - Dec 15 1997
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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