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An improved synthesis of oligodeoxynucleotide N3'-->P5' phosphoramidates and their chimera using hindered phosphoramidite monomers and a novel handle for reverse phase purification.

Oligodeoxynucleotide N3'-->P5' phosphoramidates are promising candidates for antisense therapeutics, as well as for diagnostic applications. We recently reported a new method for the synthesis of these oligonucleotide analogs which makes use of a phosphoramidite amine-exchange reaction in the key coupling step. We report herein an improved set of monomers that utilize a more reactive, hindered phosphoramidite to produce optimal yields in a single coupling step followed by oxidation, thereby eliminating the need for the previously reported couple-oxidize-couple-oxidize approach. On the 10 micromol scale, the synthesis is performed using only 3.6 equivalents (equiv.) of monomer. An improved oxidation reagent consisting of hydrogen peroxide, water, pyridine and THF is also introduced. Reported here for the first time is the use of a reverse-phase purification methodology employing a ribonucleotide purification handle that is removed under non-acidic conditions, in contrast to the conventional dimethoxytrityl group. The synthesis and purification of uniformly modified N3'-->P5' phosphoramidate oligodeoxy-nucleotides, as well as their chimera containing phosphodiester and/or phosphorothioate linkages at predefined positions, using these new methodologies are included herein. The results of31P NMR studies that led to this improved amine-exchange methodology are also described.