High-Efficiency Reverse (5′→3′) Synthesis of Complex DNA Microarrays

Kathrin Hölz, Julia K. Hoi, Erika Schaudy, Veronika Somoza, Jory Lietard, Mark M. Somoza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


DNA microarrays are important analytical tools in genetics and have recently found multiple new biotechnological roles in applications requiring free 3′ terminal hydroxyl groups, particularly as a starting point for enzymatic extension via DNA or RNA polymerases. Here we demonstrate the highly efficient reverse synthesis of complex DNA arrays using a photolithographic approach. The method is analogous to conventional solid phase synthesis but makes use of phosphoramidites with the benzoyl-2-(2-nitrophenyl)-propoxycarbonyl (BzNPPOC) photolabile protecting group on the 3′-hydroxyl group. The use of BzNPPOC, with more than twice the photolytic efficiency of the 2-(2-nitrophenyl)-propoxycarbonyl (NPPOC) previously used for 5′→3′ synthesis, combined with additional optimizations to the coupling and oxidation reactions results in an approximately 3-fold improvement in the reverse synthesis efficiency of complex arrays of DNA oligonucleotides. The coupling efficiencies of the reverse phosphoramidites are as good as those of regular phosphoramidites, resulting in comparable yields. Microarrays of DNA surface tethered on the 5′ end and with free 3′ hydroxyl termini can be synthesized quickly and with similarly high stepwise coupling efficiency as microarrays using conventional 3′→5′ synthesis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number15099
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2018
Externally publishedYes


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