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Science. 1990 Jul 6;249(4964):73-5.

Site-specific cleavage of a yeast chromosome by oligonucleotide-directed triple-helix formation.

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Arnold and Mabel Beckman Laboratories of Chemical Synthesis, Division of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena 91125.


Oligonucleotides equipped with EDTA-Fe can bind specifically to duplex DNA by triple-helix formation and produce double-strand cleavage at binding sites greater than 12 base pairs in size. To demonstrate that oligonucleotide-directed triple-helix formation is a viable chemical approach for the site-specific cleavage of large genomic DNA, an oligonucleotide with EDTA-Fe at the 5' and 3' ends was targeted to a 20-base pair sequence in the 340-kilobase pair chromosome III of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Double-strand cleavage products of the correct size and location were observed, indicating that the oligonucleotide bound and cleaved the target site among almost 14 megabase pairs of DNA. Because oligonucleotide-directed triple-helix formation has the potential to be a general solution for DNA recognition, this result has implications for physical mapping of chromosomes.

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