Structure and hybridization properties of phosphoryl guanidine oligonucleotides under crowding conditions

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Phosphoryl guanidine oligonucleotides (PGOs) are promising uncharged analogs of nucleic acids and are used in a variety of applications. The importance of hydration is frequently ignored during the design of modified nucleic acid probes. Such hydrophobic modifications (phosphoryl guanidine) are expected to have a significant impact on the structure and thermal stability of the affected oligo with complementary nucleic acids. Here we aimed to investigate (by the osmotic stress method) hydration changes upon the formation of a duplex of a PGO with complementary DNA. According to our results, the presence of phosphoryl guanidines in one or both strands of a duplex only minimally affects hydration alterations under crowding conditions. The secondary structure of native and modified duplexes did not change significantly in the presence of ethanol, ethylene glycol, polyethylene glycol 200, or polyethylene glycol 1000. After the addition of a cosolvent, the thermodynamic stability of the PGO complexes changed in the same manner as that seen in a corresponding DNA duplex. The findings reported here and our previous studies form the basis for efficient use of PGOs in basic research and a variety of applications.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)110-115
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Early online date4 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - 5 Nov 2021


  • Molecular crowding
  • Nucleic acid derivatives
  • Phosphoryl guanidine oligonucleotides
  • Solvation
  • Thermodynamics




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