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Peptide Nucleic Acids (PNAs), A Chemical Overview

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Peptide nucleic acid (PNA) is a nucleic acid analogue and a fully synthetic DNA/RNA-recognising ligand with a neutral peptide-like backbone. In spite of the large change on the backbone structure, PNA molecules bind strongly to complementary DNA and RNA sequences. Originally conceived as ligand for the recognition of double stranded DNA, the unique physico-chemical properties of PNAs have led to the development of a variety of research and diagnostic assays. The extraordinary properties of PNA may advance routine clinical tests and environmental analyses that will utilise the PNA technology. PNAs may also have an impact on in situ hybridisation, cytogenetics and industrial microbiology. This paper presents some recent achievements on peptide nucleic acids and discusses, from the viewpoint of literature, what the potential is and what the limitations of such compounds are. This review, which is not intended to be exhaustive, is mostly aimed at the current progress in PNA chemistry, structure, and hybridisation, highlighting some applications too.

Keywords: dna; duplex; oligonucleotide; pcr; peptide nucleic acid; pna; purine; pyrimidine; rna; triplex

Document Type: Review Article


Affiliations: Dipartimento di Chimica via Vienna 2, Sassari 07100 Italy.

Publication date: 2005-10-01

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