Complete Mesoscopic Parameterization of Single LNA Modifications in DNA Applied to Oncogene Probe Design

Izabela Ferreira, Sofie Slott, Kira Astakhova*, Gerald Weber*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


The use of mesoscopic models to describe the thermodynamic properties of locked nucleic acid (LNA)-modified nucleotides can provide useful insights into their properties, such as hydrogen-bonding and stacking interactions. In addition, the mesoscopic parameters can be used to optimize LNA insertion in probes, to achieve accurate melting temperature predictions, and to obtain duplex opening profiles at the base-pair level. Here, we applied this type of model to parameterize a large set of melting temperatures for LNA-modified sequences, from published sources, covering all possible nearest-neighbor configurations. We have found a very large increase in Morse potentials, which indicates very strong hydrogen bonding as the main cause of improved LNA thermodynamic stability. LNA-modified adenine-thymine (AT) was found to have similar hydrogen bonding to unmodified cytosine-guanine (CG) base pairs, while for LNA CG, we found exceptionally large hydrogen bonding. In contrast, stacking interactions, which were thought to be behind the stability of LNA, were similar to unmodified DNA in most cases. We applied the new LNA parameters to the design of BRAF, KRAS, and EGFR oncogene variants by testing all possible LNA modifications. Selected sequences were then synthesized and had their hybridization temperatures measured, achieving a prediction accuracy within 1 °C. We performed a detailed base-pair opening analysis to discuss specific aspects of these probe hybridizations that may be relevant for probe design.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Chemical Information and Modeling
Issue number7
Pages (from-to)3615-3624
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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