Document Type

Student Research Paper


Summer 2021

Academic Department

Chemistry and Biochemistry

Faculty Advisor(s)

Dr. James MacKay


RNA serves a variety of functions within biological systems. Noncoding RNA (ncRNA), a form of RNA that is not part of transcription or translation, serves a variety of unique roles, such as a catalyst and a gene switch. In these capacities ncRNA generally forms double helical motifs. Sequence selective recognition of double stranded ribonucleic acids (dsRNA) can be achieved by Peptide Nucleic Acids (PNA) through the formation of a triple helix in the major groove of dsRNA. In triple helix recognition, a synthetic nucleobase, 2-aminopyridine (or M) can detect the guanine in a Watson-Crick base pair within double stranded RNA. This recognition occurs with high selectivity and at physiological conditions. The synthesis of M, however, is time intensive, expensive, and low yielding due to costly starting materials, catalysts, and multiple purification steps. Following a new synthesis method, several steps were optimized to improve yield, simplify synthesis, and reduce costs. Attempted improvements included an enhanced solvent and lower equivalents of starting material, while further improvements are still being investigated and may include the excision of a column purification.


Scholarship, Creative Arts, and Research Project (SCARP)

Included in

Chemistry Commons



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