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Method: Labeling DNA with 32P-dCTP by Primer Extension

June 22, 1990

Srini Ramachandra


Time required:


Note: All volumes are for a 50 ng reaction. The reaction volume can be scaled up to label 150 ng of DNA per tube, scaling up all volumes to 3 times the original volume.

Labeling the probe:

  1. Thaw out 32P-dCTP on a fresh piece of absorbent pad behind the radioactive shield for at least 30 minutes. (But do not let it sit at room temperature for hours, as the nucleotide will start to breakdown).
  2. To an eppendorf tube add the following:

    12.5 ng/Ál DNA stock= 4 Ál (50ng)
    sterile ddH2O= 3 Ál
    7 Ál

  3. Place the tube in the metal holder and heat the DNA for 2 minutes in a boiling water bath, maintaining a temperature of 95 degrees C.
  4. Quick-cool the tubes on ice for 2 minutes and touch-spin in a microcentrifuge to bring down the condensation on the sides.
  5. Add the following in the order given:

    LS-C = 11.4 Ál(If using 32P-dATP, you will have to use LS-A.)
    10mg/ml BSA = 1.0 Ál
    Klenow enzyme= 1.0 Ál
    20.4 Ál

  6. Add 5 Ál of 32P-dCTP to the tube and mix the contents well. Work behind a plexiglass shield in the radioactive work area.
  7. Incubate the reaction mix on a 37 degrees C heat block for 30 minutes to an hour.

P-60 Column preparation:

Probe purification:

  1. Stop the reaction by adding 17Ál of 10X Labeling Stop Mix (contains Dextran blue and Bromophenol blue dyes) to each tube. Add the reaction mix drop by drop to the top of the column without disturbing the surface and let the excess TE drip through the column into a weigh boat or a steel pan.
  2. Add enough TE to the top of the column to move the dextran blue (the light blue dye) to within 1cm of the conical tip of the column (~300 Ál TE; allow the TE to drip into a weigh boat). Start collecting the probe approximately 1cm before the dextran blue starts coming off the column: first placing the microcentrifuge tubes (in a Sarstedt rack) under the columns, then add TE to each column. To accomodate the Probe Count, the collected volume of labeled probe, and therefore the added volume of TE, should be either 450 Ál or 500 Ál. Do not collect any of the dark blue dye (Bromophenol blue). It contains the unincorporated nucleotides.
  3. Place the used columns into a used 50ml centrifuge tube and discard all dry waste into the radioactive dry waste container. Soak the radioactive drips in weigh boat with Kimwipes and discard in radioactive dry waste container.
  4. Follow the instructions on page 9 of the ONCOR Probe Count instruction manual and determine the dpms (disintegrations per minute) of the labeled probes.
  5. Use the labeled probes immediately for hybridization as described under "Hybridization to Southern Blots".
  6. Solutions:


    Feinberg, A.P. and B. Vogelstein. (1983). "A technique for radiolabeling DNA restriction endonuclease fragments to high specific activity" Anal. Biochem. 132: p. 6-13.