A 27-base-long DNA oligonucleotide was designed that binds to duplex DNA at a single site within the 5′ end of the human c-myc gene, 115 base pairs upstream from the transcription origin P1. On the basis of the physical properties of its bound complex, it was concluded that the oligonucleotide forms a colinear triplex with the duplex binding site. By means of an in vitro assay system, it was possible to show a correlation between triplex formation at -115 base pairs and repression of c-myc transcription. The possibility is discussed that triplex formation (site-specific RNA binding to a DNA duplex) could serve as the basis for an alternative program of gene control in vivo.
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