Photocaged oligonucleotides allow for the spatial temporal control of biological processes. In their caged form, the oligonucleotides are unable to participate in base pairing. It is only after exposure to non-invasive light that the native oligonucleotide is released. DEACM-dG is a convenient way to introduce a photocage at specific positions, and the DEACM is an effective photocleavable group.
Glen Research’s interest lies in the preparation of caged oligonucleotides whose function is restored after uncaging by UV light at a wavelength that causes no DNA damage. The Deiters group at North Carolina State University has described NPOM-Caged-dT, where the nucleobase is caged with the photolabile group, 6-nitropiperonyloxymethyl (NPOM), which can be removed using UV light at 365 nm. Oligonucleotides containing NPOM-Caged-dT every five or six bases do not hybridize to their complementary strand. Photo-uncaging of the caged oligonucleotide is then easily carried out with UV light at 365 nm for seconds to minutes to restore the activity of the oligonucleotide.