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The instability of DNA triplexes particularly at neutral pH and above severely limits their applications. Here, we demonstrate that the introduction of a thiazole orange (TO) intercalator onto a thymine nucleobase in triplex forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) resolves this problem. The stabilising effects are additive; multiple TO units produce nanomolar duplex binding and triplex stability can surpass that of the underlying duplex. In one example, a TFO containing three TO units increased the triplex melting temperature at pH 7 by a remarkable 50 °C relative to the unmodified triplex. Notably, TO intercalation promotes TFO binding to target sequences other than pure polypurine tracts by the use of 5-(1-propynyl)cytosine (pC) against C:G inversions. By overcoming the instability of triplexes across a broad range of pH and sequence contexts, these very simple 'TOTFO' probes could expand triplex applications into many areas including diagnostics and cell imaging.

Original publication

DOI

10.1039/c8sc02418a

Type

Journal article

Journal

Chem Sci

Publication Date

21/10/2018

Volume

9

Pages

7681 - 7687