In order to expand the repertoire of DNA sequences specifically interacting with transition metals, we report here the first examples of DNA sequences carrying mono- and bidentate phosphane ligands as well as P,N-ligands. Aminoalkyl-modified oligonucleotides have been reacted at predetermined internal sites with carboxylate derivatives of pyrphos, BINAP and phosphinooxazoline (PHOX) 2b-d. Carbodiimide coupling in the presence of N-hydroxysuccinimide provided the DNA-ligand conjugates in 38-78% yield. Phosphane-containing oligonucleotides and their phosphane sulfide analogues were characterized by mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF and FT-ICR-ESI) and their stability after purification and isolation was systematically investigated. While DNA-appended pyrphos ligand was quickly oxidized, BINAP and PHOX conjugates showed high stabilities, making them useful precursors for incorporation of transition metals into DNA.
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