A metal-mediated base pair that discriminates between the canonical pyrimidine nucleobases.

J. Biswarup, P. Scharf, N. Sandmann, C. Fonseca Guerra, D. Megger, J. Muller

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


A nucleoside analogue comprising the ligand 1H-imidazo[4,5-f][1,10]phenanthroline (P) was applied to develop a molecular beacon capable of discriminating the canonical nucleobases cytosine and thymine. The beacon is based on the formation of a stable Ag+-mediated base pair between P and cytosine, whereas the presence of Ag+ strongly destabilizes nucleic acids comprising an artificial base pair between P and thymine. Metal-mediated base pair formation was investigated by temperature-dependent UV spectroscopy and CD spectroscopy and complemented by extensive DFT calculations. The molecular beacon significantly extends the application spectrum of nucleic acids with metal-mediated base pairs. It is of potential use in the detection of single-nucleotide polymorphisms.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberonline
Pages (from-to)1337-1343
Number of pages7
JournalChemical Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2017


Support by COST Action CM1105, the DFG (SFB 858), and the NWO is gratefully acknowledged. Biswarup Jash is a recipient of an NRW Graduate School of Chemistry fellowship. We thank Prof. Bart Jan Ravoo for access to the fluorescence spectrometer and Dipl.-Ing. Jutta Kösters for solving the crystal structure.

FundersFunder number
European Cooperation in Science and TechnologyCM1105
Deutsche ForschungsgemeinschaftSFB 858
Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek


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