Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 10753631
Biochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 2000 Apr;270(2):363-9
Oligonucleotides can be used as sequence-specific DNA ligands by forming a local triple helix. In order to form more stable triple-helical structures or prevent their degradation in cells, oligonucleotide analogues that are modified at either the backbone or base level are routinely used. Morpholino oligonucleotides appeared recently as a promising modification for antisense applications. We report here a study that indicates the possibility of a triple helix formation with a morpholino pyrimidine TFO and its comparison with a phosphodiester and a phosphoramidate oligonucleotide. At a neutral pH and in the presence of a high magnesium ion concentration (10 mM), the phosphoramidate oligomer forms the most stable triple helix, whereas in the absence of magnesium ion but at a physiological monovalent cation concentration (0.14 M) only morpholino oligonucleotides form a stable triplex. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a stable triple helix in the pyrimidine motif formed by a noncharged oligonucleotide third strand (the morpholino oligonucleotide) and a DNA duplex. We show here that the structure formed with the morpholino oligomer is a bona fide triple helix and it is destabilized by high concentrations of potassium ions or divalent cations (Mg(2+)).