Orientation of the Chromophore Dipoles in the TOTO-DNA System

Juleon M. Schins, Alexandra Agronskaia, Bart G. de Grooth, Jan Greve

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    15 Citations (Scopus)


    Background: Flow cytometry has been applied successfully to the sizing of medium to large-sized DNA molecules, thanks to the excellent staining properties of cyanine chromophores such as TOTO (homodimer of thiazole orange) (Petty et al.: Anal Chem 67:1755-1761, 1995). The hydrodynamic flow, used to focus the sample molecules in a small laser-illuminated volume, is also responsible for their alignment, thereby allowing the determination of the TOTO-dipole orientation with respect to the DNA axis (Agronskaia et al.: Appl Opt 38:714-719, 1999).

    Methods: We present model calculations of the fluorescence yield of TOTO-stained DNA measured in a flow-cytometric setup with high numerical aperture. The models consider different orientations of the chromophore dipoles.

    Results: Comparison of measurement and calculation suggests that the absorption dipoles of the TOTO molecule make a mean angle of 61° with the helix axis of the DNA molecule. This mean angle can be the consequence of two binding modes.

    Conclusions: Our results indicate that any model with a significant contribution of perpendicularly-oriented chromophores fails to reproduce the experimental results.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)230-237
    Number of pages8
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1999


    • TOTO
    • Orientation
    • Dipole
    • DNA
    • Fluorescence


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