Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Summary After incorporation into a polyacrylamide matrix, the biopolymers DNA, RNA, heparin, hyaluronic acid, collagen and the synthetic polymers poly(U) and poly(A, U) were stained with the pure thiazine dyes, Methylene Blue, the Azures and Thionin alone and combined with Eosin Y. Satisfactory spectrophotometric agreement was obtained between the staining reactions of the biopolymers in the artificial matrix and those in their natural surroundings. This was especially true with respect to the specificity of the Azure B-Eosin Y dye-pair, which is based on the generation, on suitable substrates, of a purple colour, the Romanowsky-Giemsa effect (RGE), with an absorbance maximum near 550 nm. In the model experiments, DNA, heparin, hyaluronic acid and collagen were found to be RGE-positive and poly(U), poly(A, U) and RNA RGE-negative. A theory of RGE is proposed which complies with the new and earlier observations: after saturation of available anionic binding sites and aggregate formation by Azure B, electron donor acceptor complexes are formed between Eosin Y and Azure B via hydrogen-bridge formation of the aminosubstituent proton of Azure B and between Eosin Y and the biopolymer surface. Charge-transfer complex formation may also account for the qualitative identity of Azure B-Eosin Y and Azure A-Eosin Y spectra of substrates, which are coloured purple. Quantitatively, Azure A-Eosin Y is less efficient in giving RGE. The generation of RGE is time-dependent. Equilibrium staining is attained after about 120 h. The implications of the results for the biological application of Romanowsky-Giemsa staining are discussed briefly.
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