MOLECULAR BEACONS: FUNDAMENTAL ASPECTS AND APPLICATIONSAbstract
Molecular Beacons (MBs) are DNA hairpins that are widely used as fluorescent probes. The inherent signal transduction mechanism let them differentiate between target and non-target oligonucleotides that differ even on a single base. The stem-loop structure consists of donor and acceptor moieties conjugated to both ends thus lying nearby, which leads to FRET. On hybridization to target sequences that hairpin opens up, restoring fluorescence. MBs technology can be applied to a wide range of fields from genetic screening, biochip development, biosensor construction and even mRNA expression in living cells. Recent developments consist of modifications to improve not only the stability of MB in living cells but also lowering signal to noise ratio.