- Fluorophore-modified oligonucleotides have found widespread use in genomics and enable detection of single-nucleotide polymorphisms, real-time monitoring of PCR, and imaging of mRNA in living cells. Hybridization probes modified with polarity-sensitive fluorophores and molecular beacons (MBs) are among the most popular approaches to produce hybridization-induced increases in fluorescence intensity for nucleic acid detection. In the present study, we demonstrate that the 2'-N-(pyren-1-yl)carbonyl-2'-amino locked nucleic acid (LNA) monomer X is a highly versatile building block for generation of efficient hybridization probes and quencher-free MBs. The hybridization and fluorescence properties of these Glowing LNA probes are efficiently modulated and optimized by changes in probe backbone chemistry and architecture. Correctly designed probes are shown to exhibit (a) high affinity toward RNA targets, (b) excellent mismatch discrimination, (c) high biostability, and (d) pronounced hybridization-induced increases in fluorescence intensity leading to formation of brightly fluorescent duplexes with unprecedented emission quantum yields (?(F) = 0.45-0.89) among pyrene-labeled oligonucleotides. Finally, specific binding between messenger RNA and multilabeled quencher-free MBs based on Glowing LNA monomers is demonstrated (a) using in vitro transcription assays and (b) by quantitative fluorometric assays and direct microscopic observation of probes bound to mRNA in its native form. These features render Glowing LNA as promising diagnostic probes for biomedical applications.