Annual Reviews Electronic Back Volume Collection 1932-2001ff
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Abstract Synthetic oligonucleotide analogs have greatly aided our understanding of several biochemical processes. Efficient solid-phase and enzyme-assisted synthetic methods and the availability of modified base analogs have added to the utility of such oligonucleotides. In this review, we discuss the applications of synthetic oligonucleotides that contain backbone, base, and sugar modifications to investigate the mechanism and stereochemical aspects of biochemical reactions. We also discuss interference mapping of nucleic acid-protein interactions; spectroscopic analysis of biochemical reactions and nucleic acid structures; and nucleic acid cross-linking studies. The automation of oligonucleotide synthesis, the development of versatile phosphoramidite reagents, and efficient scale-up have expanded the application of modified oligonucleotides to diverse areas of fundamental and applied biological research. Numerous reports have covered oligonucleotides for which modifications have been made of the phosphodiester backbone, of the purine and pyrimidine heterocyclic bases, and of the sugar moiety; these modifications serve as structural and mechanistic probes. In this chapter, we review the range, scope, and practical utility of such chemically modified oligonucleotides. Because of space limitations, we discuss only those oligonucleotides that contain phosphate and phosphate analogs as internucleotidic linkages.
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