UNA is a suitable reagent for diagnostic applications. Properly designed UNA oligonucleotides are thus able to efficiently and specifically recognize fully complementary nucleic acids over singly mis-matched nucleic acids.
One useful design employs two UNA nucleotides positioned around a central region of a probe otherwise composed of DNA, RNA, LNA or 2’-OMe-RNA nucleotides [N. Langkjaer et al., Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2009, 17, 5420-5425]. With this design, superior recognition of e.g. disease-related SNPs (single nucleotide polymorphisms) is possible.
Allele-selective inhibition of expression of Huntingtin and Ataxin-3 by UNA-modified RNA duplexes has recently been published [Y. Aiba et al., Biochemistry 2013, 52, 9329-9338]. This work further underlines the unique diagnostic potential of UNA-based reagents.
A fluorescence read-out is an option with UNA-based diagnostic probes. As a recent example, a quencher-free molecular beacon design based on pyrene excimer fluorescence using pyrene-labeled UNA has been developed [K. K. Karlsen et al., Bioorg. Med. Chem. 2013, 21, 6186-6190].
RiboTask offers ready-to-use UNA-based diagnostic reagents – i.e. UNA amidites or UNA oligonucleotides.