Probing the three-dimensional structures of DNA and RNA oligonucleotides in solution by nuclear Overhauser enhancement measurements

FEBS Lett. 1985 Jan 7;179(2):187-98. doi: 10.1016/0014-5793(85)80516-0.


DNA and RNA oligonucleotides are ideally suited for high-resolution X-ray crystallographic and 1H-NMR studies. The solution structures of such oligonucleotides can potentially be solved using proton-proton nuclear Overhauser enhancement measurements to demonstrate the proximity of protons in space and to determine their separation, thereby enabling a comparison of the structure in the crystalline and solution states to be made. In this review we describe the general strategy for the sequential resonance assignments of oligonucleotide 1H-NMR spectra, the essential prerequisite for further structural work, the approach to obtaining interproton distances from pre-steady state nuclear Overhauser enhancement measurements, and the use of interproton distances in structure determination. This is illustrated by several examples including double- and single-stranded DNA oligonucleotides as well as RNA stem and loop structures.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Chemical Phenomena
  • Chemistry, Physical
  • Magnetic Resonance Spectroscopy / methods
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation*
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides*
  • Oligonucleotides*
  • Oligoribonucleotides*
  • Protons
  • RNA, Fungal
  • RNA, Transfer, Amino Acyl
  • Solutions
  • X-Ray Diffraction


  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • Oligonucleotides
  • Oligoribonucleotides
  • Protons
  • RNA, Fungal
  • RNA, Transfer, Amino Acyl
  • Solutions