The intercalating non-covalent binding fluorescent cyanine dyes for nucleic acid detection are reviewed and the patent literature for the last two decades (since their discovery) is included. The synthetic methods for the preparation of unsymmetrical cyanine dyes that are useful as nucleic acid probes are presented. Most of the specific applications of such fluorescent cyanine dyes are reviewed and these include flow cytometry, PCR reactions, sequencing, hybridization, gel electrophoresis, capillary gel electrophoresis, liquid chromatography, quantification of DNA and RNA in solution, disinfection of blood products, diagnosis of different infections and diseases, melting curve analysis, covalent labeling for oligonucleotides and the application of such labeled nucleotides in clinical assays, staining and assessing the viability of the cells, chromosome staining etc. The outlook for current and future developments in this area is also outlined.
Cyanine dyes, intercalation, fluorescence, nucleic acids detection
University of Sofia, Faculty of Chemistry, 1164 Sofia, Bulgaria.