, Volume 52, Issue 3, pp 229–243 | Cite as

Mechanisms of chromosome banding

VIII. Hoechst 33258-DNA interaction
  • David E. Comings


The interaction of Hoechst 33258 with DNA has been examined to help clarify the mechanisms of banding. 1. In agreement with previous studies Hoechst fluorescence is enhanced to a greater degree in AT-rich compared to GC-rich DNA. 2. Hoechst causes an increase in the DNA Tm which is greater the higher the AT content of the DNA. 3. There is a decrease in extinction coefficient and shift in the adsorption spectra to a higher wavelength when Hoechst binds to DNA. 4. DNA is completely precipitated at a ratio of one dye molecule per base pair, and this precipitation is not affected by salt. 5. There is no increase in viscosity or change in the circular dichroism of DNA when bound to Hoechst. — These findings suggest Hoechst does not bind to DNA by intercalation or by ionic interaction with the phosphate groups, but rather binds by an attachment to the outside of the double DNA helix by interacting with the base pairs. This type of binding allows greater sensitivity to the base composition than occurs with intercalating agents. In this respect its binding is similar to that of dibutyl proflavine (Muller et al., 1973).


Base Pair Developmental Biology Circular Dichroism Extinction Coefficient Phosphate Group 
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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • David E. Comings
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical GeneticsCity of Hope National Medical CenterDuarteUSA

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