Synthesis and structural characterization of piperazino-modified DNA that favours hybridization towards DNA over RNA

Joan Skov, Torsten Bryld, Dorthe Lindegaard, Katrine E Nielsen, Torben René Højland, Jesper Wengel, Michael Petersen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


We report the synthesis of two C4'-modified DNA analogues and characterize their structural impact on dsDNA duplexes. The 4'-C-piperazinomethyl modification stabilizes dsDNA by up to 5°C per incorporation. Extension of the modification with a butanoyl-linked pyrene increases the dsDNA stabilization to a maximum of 9°C per incorporation. Using fluorescence, ultraviolet and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy, we show that the stabilization is achieved by pyrene intercalation in the dsDNA duplex. The pyrene moiety is not restricted to one intercalation site but rather switches between multiple sites in intermediate exchange on the NMR timescale, resulting in broad lines in NMR spectra. We identified two intercalation sites with NOE data showing that the pyrene prefers to intercalate one base pair away from the modified nucleotide with its linker curled up in the minor groove. Both modifications are tolerated in DNA:RNA hybrids but leave their melting temperatures virtually unaffected. Fluorescence data indicate that the pyrene moiety is residing outside the helix. The available data suggest that the DNA discrimination is due to (i) the positive charge of the piperazino ring having a greater impact in the narrow and deep minor groove of a B-type dsDNA duplex than in the wide and shallow minor groove of an A-type DNA:RNA hybrid and (ii) the B-type dsDNA duplex allowing the pyrene to intercalate and bury its apolar surface.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Publication statusPublished - 2011
Externally publishedYes

Cite this