Certain cytosine-rich (C-rich) DNA sequences can fold into secondary structures as four-stranded i-motifs with hemiprotonated base pairs. Here we synthesized C-rich TINA-intercalating oligonucleotides by inserting a nonnucleotide pyrene moiety between two C-rich regions. The stability of their i-motif structures was studied by using UV melting temperature measurements and circular dichroism spectra at different pH values under noncrowding and crowding conditions (20% poly(ethylene glycol)). When TINA ((R)-3-((4-(1-pyrenylethynyl)benzyl)oxy) propane-1,2-diol) is inserted, the oligonucleotides could form an i-motif at a higher pH than observed for the corresponding wildtype oligonucleotide.
Nucleosides, Nucleotides and Nucleic Acids, 2012, Vol 31, p. 872-879