PNA hybridizes to complementary oligonucleotides obeying the Watson-Crick hydrogen-bonding rules

Nature. 1993 Oct 7;365(6446):566-8. doi: 10.1038/365566a0.


DNA analogues are currently being intensely investigated owing to their potential as gene-targeted drugs. Furthermore, their properties and interaction with DNA and RNA could provide a better understanding of the structural features of natural DNA that determine its unique chemical, biological and genetic properties. We recently designed a DNA analogue, PNA, in which the backbone is structurally homomorphous with the deoxyribose backbone and consists of N-(2-aminoethyl)glycine units to which the nucleobases are attached. We showed that PNA oligomers containing solely thymine and cytosine can hybridize to complementary oligonucleotides, presumably by forming Watson-Crick-Hoogsteen (PNA)2-DNA triplexes, which are much more stable than the corresponding DNA-DNA duplexes, and bind to double-stranded DNA by strand displacement. We report here that PNA containing all four natural nucleobases hybridizes to complementary oligonucleotides obeying the Watson-Crick base-pairing rules, and thus is a true DNA mimic in terms of base-pair recognition.

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Cytosine / chemistry
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • Glycine / analogs & derivatives
  • Glycine / chemistry
  • Hydrogen Bonding
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / chemistry*
  • RNA / chemistry
  • Thermodynamics
  • Thymine / chemistry


  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • N-(2-aminoethyl)glycine
  • RNA
  • Cytosine
  • DNA
  • Thymine
  • Glycine