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PNA (Peptide Nucleic Acid)

Peptide nucleic acid, a DNA analogues with the sugar-phosphate backbone is replaced by pseudopeptide chain constituted N-(2-aminoethyl) glycine monomers, was discovered during the 1990s. Based on the molecular structure, the PNA has special physicochemical properties and many biological functions.PNA supply a powerful tool to study the mechanism of transcription, target gene expression, antisense and antigene agents, molecular probes.

Properties of PNAs

  • Higher affinity and greater specificity than conventional oligonucleotides
  • More stable than DNA or RNA as it is resistant to nucleases and proteases
  • PNA can be hydridized at lower salt concentrations than DNA or RNA

Applications of PNA

  • PNA as therapeutic drug Because of their strand invasion property and being chemically and biologically stable, PNAs can be used to design gene therapeutic drugs. For instance, PNA can bind to complementary sequence of mRNA and change its function.
  • Tool for molecular biology and genomics Many sequences which are not recognised by the restriction enzymes. PNA can hybridize to negatively charged DNA or RNA without electrostatic repulsion. At the same time, peptide nucleic acids can affect the replication, transcription, reverse transcription and translation of DNA.
  • PNA for diagnosis and detection Single-base-pair mutation or single-nucleotide polymorphism(SNP) analysis is possible using the PCR technique if PNA is synthesised targeting the primer binding site.
  • PNA as biosensor for nucleic acids Molecular beacons are molecules with a fluorescent dye at one terminus and a quencher molecule at the other.

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