Research concerning oligonucleotide-directed triple helix formation has mainly focused on the binding of DNA oligonucleotides to duplex DNA. The participation of RNA strands In triple helices is also of interest. For the pyrimldine motif (pyrlmldlne- purine (pyrimldlne triplets), systematic substitution of RNA for DNA in one, two, or all three triplex strands has previously been reported. For the purine motif (purine-purine-pyrimldlne triplets), studies have shown only that RNA cannot bind to duplex DNA. To extend this result, we created a DNA triple helix in the purine motif and systematically replaced one, two, or all three strands with RNA. In dramatic contrast to the general accommodation of RNA strands in the pyrimidine triple helix motif, a stable triplex forms In the purine motif only when all three of the substltuent strands are DNA. The lack of triplex formation among any of the other seven possible strand combinations involving RNA suggests that: (i) duplex structures containing RNA cannot be targeted by DNA oligonucleotides In the purine motif; (ii) RNA strands cannot be employed to recognize duplex DNA in the purine motif; and (ill) RNA tertiary structures are likely to contain only isolated base triplets in the purine motif.
ASJC Scopus subject areas