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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1993 Oct 15;90(20):9542-6.

Peptide nucleic acid (PNA) conformation and polymorphism in PNA-DNA and PNA-RNA hybrids.

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  • 1Department of Chemistry, University of California at Santa Barbara 93106.


Two hydrogen-bonding motifs have been proposed to account for the extraordinary stability of polyamide "peptide" nucleic acid (PNA) hybrids with nucleic acids. These interresidue- and intraresidue-hydrogen-bond motifs were investigated by molecular mechanics calculations. Energy-minimized structures of Watson-Crick base-paired decameric duplexes of PNA with A-, B-, and Z-DNA and A-RNA polymorphs indicate that the inherent stability of the complementary PNA helical structures is derived from interresidue, rather than from intraresidue, hydrogen bonds in all hybrids studied. Intraresidue-hydrogen-bond lengths are consistently longer than interresidue hydrogen bonds. Helical strand stability with interresidue hydrogen bond stabilization follows the order: B-(DNA.PNA) > A-(DNA.PNA) congruent to A-RNA.PNA > Z-(DNA.PNA). In the triplex hybrids A-(RNA.PNA2) and B-(DNA.PNA2), differences between stabilities of the two decamers of thyminyl PNA with lysine amide attached to the C terminus (pnaT)10 strands are small. The Hoogsteen (pnaT)10 strands are of slightly higher potential energy than are the Watson-Crick (pnaT)10 strands. Antiparallel arrangement of PNAs in the triplex is slightly favored over the parallel arrangement based on the calculations. Examination by molecular mechanics of the PNA.DNA analogue of the NMR-derived structure for the B-double-stranded DNA dodecamer d(CG-CAAATTTGCG)2 in solution suggests that use of all bases of the genetic alphabet should be possible without loss of the specific interresidue-hydrogen-bonding pattern within the PNA strand.

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