Chemically modified antisense oligonucleotides are currently progressing in multiple clinical trials. Among several chemical modifications made, modification of the 2-position has proved most successful. Second generation antisense oligonucleotides incorporating these 2-modifications exhibit high binding affinity to target RNA, enhanced metabolic stability, and improved pharmacokinetic and toxicity profiles. This is, in part, due to the enhanced biophysical properties of second generation antisense oligonucleotides. 2-Modifications that influence the sugar to adopt a 3-endo sugar pucker can improve properties such as affinity. 2- Modifications that provide a gauche effect and/or a charge effect can play a significant role in the level of nuclease resistance. The heterocyclic base modifications such as 2-thiothymine provides additive effect on the affinity of 2-F and 2-O-MOE modifications. This review summarizes the structural and biophysical properties of selected 2-modified nucleosides which are candidates for use in oligonucleotide theraputics.
Keywords: RNase H enzyme, DNA decamer duplex, RNA affinity, arabino nucleic acids, antisense oligonucleotides
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