The antigene strategy based on site-specific recognition of duplex DNA by triplex DNA formation has been exploited in a wide range of biological activities. However, specific triplex formation is mostly restricted to homo-purine strands within the target duplex DNA, due to the destabilizing effect of CG and TA inversion sites where there is an absence of natural nucleotides that can recognize the CG and TA base pairs. Hence, the design of artificial nucleosides, which can selectively recognize these inversion sites with high affinity, should be of great significance. Recently, we determined that 2-amino-3-methylpyridinyl pseudo-dC (3MeAP-dC) possessed significant affinity and selectivity toward a CG inversion site and showed effective inhibition of gene expression. We now describe the design and synthesis of new modified aminopyridine derivatives by focusing on small chemical modification of the aminopyridine unit to tune and enhance the selectivity and affinity toward CG inversion sites. Remarkably, we have newly found that 2-amino-4-methoxypyridinyl pseudo-dC (4OMeAP-dC) could selectively recognize the CG base pair in all four adjacent base pairs and form a stable triplex structure against the promoter sequence of the human gene including multiple CG inversion sites.
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