Nucleic Acids Research vol:40 issue:15 pages:7573-7583
Altritol nucleic acids (ANAs) are a promising new tool in the development of artificial small interfering ribonucleic acids (siRNAs) for therapeutical applications. To mimic the siRNA:messenger RNA (mRNA) interactions, the crystal structure of the ANA:RNA construct a(CCGUAAUGCC-P):r(GGCAUUACGG) was determined to 1.96 Å resolution which revealed the hybrid to form an A-type helix. As this A-form is a major requirement in the RNAi process, this crystal structure confirms the potential of altritol-modified siRNAs. Moreover, in the ANA strands, a new type of intrastrand interactions was found between the O2' hydroxyl group of one residue and the sugar ring O4' atom of the next residue. These interactions were further investigated by quantum chemical methods. Besides hydration effects, these intrastrand hydrogen bonds may also contribute to the stability of ANA:RNA duplexes.