A new method for the synthesis of 2'-O-methyl-2-thiouridine (s2Um) found in thermophilic bacterial tRNA was developed. Structural properties of s2Um and s2Um(p)U were studied by using 1H NMR spectroscopy. A modified nonaribonucleotide (RNA*: 5'-CGUUs2UmUUGC-3') was synthesized to study the base-recognition ability of s2Um in formation of RNA-RNA and RNA DNA duplexes. The UV melting experiments revealed that RNA*-RNA and RNA*-DNA duplexes having an s2U-A base pair are more stable than those having a U-A base pair. On the contrary, the thermal stability of RNA*-RNA and RNA*-DNA duplexes having an s2U-G wobble base pair was much lower than that of the unmodified duplexes having a natural U-G base pair. It is concluded that s2Um has higher selectivity toward A over G than unmodified U.