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Nature. 1993 Oct 7;365(6446):566-8.

PNA hybridizes to complementary oligonucleotides obeying the Watson-Crick hydrogen-bonding rules.

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  • 1Department of Organic Chemistry, H. C. Orsted Institute, Copenhagen, Denmark.


DNA analogues are currently being intensely investigated owing to their potential as gene-targeted drugs. Furthermore, their properties and interaction with DNA and RNA could provide a better understanding of the structural features of natural DNA that determine its unique chemical, biological and genetic properties. We recently designed a DNA analogue, PNA, in which the backbone is structurally homomorphous with the deoxyribose backbone and consists of N-(2-aminoethyl)glycine units to which the nucleobases are attached. We showed that PNA oligomers containing solely thymine and cytosine can hybridize to complementary oligonucleotides, presumably by forming Watson-Crick-Hoogsteen (PNA)2-DNA triplexes, which are much more stable than the corresponding DNA-DNA duplexes, and bind to double-stranded DNA by strand displacement. We report here that PNA containing all four natural nucleobases hybridizes to complementary oligonucleotides obeying the Watson-Crick base-pairing rules, and thus is a true DNA mimic in terms of base-pair recognition.

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