Branch capture reactions: Effect of recipient structure

Peter H. Weinstock, James G. Wetmur

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Branch capture reactions (BCR) contain two DNA species: (i) a recipient restriction fragment terminating in an overhang and (ii) a displacer-linker duplex terminating in a displacer tail complementary to the overhang as well as contiguous nucleotides within the recipient duplex. Branched complexes containing both species are captured by ligation of the linker to the recipient overhang. Specificity depends upon branch migration and is increased by substitution of bromodeoxycytidine for deoxycytidine in the displacer. BCR rates and specificities were determined for recipient overhangs that were (i) 5' and 3', (ii) 3 and 4 nucleotides long, and (iii) 0-100% G + C. Model systems permitted independent determination of G + C and branching effects on ligation rates and verification of rapid equilibrium between the branched complex and its component species. With all 4-base overhangs, recipient duplexes permitting extensive branch migration became saturated with displacer-linker duplexes. With increasing G + C, increasing ligation at competing sites led to decreased BCR specificity. BCR may be used to label a DNA fragment prior to electrophoresis, mark a fragment for affinity chromatography, or introduce a new overhang sequence compatible with a restriction endonuclease site in a cloning vector. A protocol was confirmed for mapping restriction sites in cloned DNA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4207-4213
Number of pages7
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number14
StatePublished - 25 Jul 1990


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