UNIT 3.18 Nonenzymatic Oligomerization of Activated Nucleotides on Hairpin Templates

  1. Eun-Kyong Kim,
  2. Christopher Switzer

Published Online: 1 DEC 2009

DOI: 10.1002/0471142700.nc0318s39

Current Protocols in Nucleic Acid Chemistry

Current Protocols in Nucleic Acid Chemistry

How to Cite

Kim, E.-K. and Switzer, C. 2009. Nonenzymatic Oligomerization of Activated Nucleotides on Hairpin Templates. Current Protocols in Nucleic Acid Chemistry. 39:3.18:3.18.1–3.18.13.

Author Information

  1. Department of Chemistry, University of California, Riverside, California

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 1 DEC 2009
  2. Published Print: DEC 2009


This unit describes a protocol for nonenzymatic oligomerization of activated ribonucleotides on DNA hairpins appended by templates containing threofuranosyl nucleic acid (TNA). TNA-cytidylate templates effectively promote oligomerization of 2-MeImpG, and give 3′,5′-linked oligomerization products predominantly, with good base-pairing fidelity. Although the rates of oligomerization depend on TNA content, after 3 days of incubation, oligomerization products are apparent, and full-length products are present after 10 days. Characterization of product phosphodiester bond regiochemistry is accomplished by digestion with RNase T1. Additionally, exposure of oligomerization products to calf intestinal alkaline phosphatase enables detection of any endcapping due to pyrophosphate formation. Base-pairing fidelity is assessed by challenging the template to oligomerize 2-MeImpA. The protocols described for nonenzymatic, template-directed synthesis in this unit are applicable to oligomerization of activated monomers on templates of different compositions, with respect to both base identity and polymer backbone. Curr. Protoc. Nucleic Acid Chem. 39:3.18.1-3.18.13. © 2009 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.


  • nonenzymatic;
  • template-directed;
  • oligomerization;
  • RNA;
  • DNA;
  • TNA;
  • prebiotic