Four-color DNA sequencing with 3′-O-modified nucleotide reversible terminators and chemically cleavable fluorescent dideoxynucleotides

Jia Guo, Ning Xu, Zengmin Li, Shenglong Zhang, Jian Wu, Hyun Kim Dae, Sano Marma Mong, Qinglin Meng, Huanyan Cao, Xiaoxu Li, Shundi Shi, Lin Yu, Sergey Kalachikov, James J. Russo, Nicholas J. Turro, Jingyue Ju

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

109 Scopus citations


DNA sequencing by synthesis (SBS) on a solid surface during polymerase reaction can decipher many sequences in parallel. We report here a DNA sequencing method that is a hybrid between the Sanger dideoxynucleotide terminating reaction and SBS. In this approach, four nucleotides, modified as reversible terminators by capping the 3′-OH with a small reversible moiety so that they are still recognized by DNA polymerase as substrates, are combined with four cleavable fluorescent dideoxynucleotides to perform SBS. The ratio of the two sets of nucleotides is adjusted as the extension cycles proceed. Sequences are determined by the unique fluorescence emission of each fluorophore on the DNA products terminated by ddNTPs. On removing the 3′-OH capping group from the DNA products generated by incorporating the 3′-O-modified dNTPs and the fluorophore from the DNA products terminated with the ddNTPs, the polymerase reaction reinitiates to continue the sequence determination. By using an azidomethyl group as a chemically reversible capping moiety in the 3′-O-modified dNTPs, and an azido-based cleavable linker to attach the fluorophores to the ddNTPs, we synthesized four 3′-O-azidomethyl-dNTPs and four ddNTP-azidolinker-fluorophores for the hybrid SBS. After sequence determination by fluorescence imaging, the 3′-O-azidomethyl group and the fluorophore attached to the DNA extension product via the azidolinker are efficiently removed by using Tris(2-carboxyethyl)phosphine in aqueous solution that is compatible with DNA. Various DNA templates, including those with homopolymer regions, were accurately sequenced with a read length of >30 bases by using this hybrid SBS method on a chip and a four-color fluorescence scanner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9145-9150
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number27
StatePublished - Jul 8 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA chip
  • Sequencing by synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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