By the use of high sensitivity assay systems, we have measured the occurrence of strand scission and phosphoryl migration that accompany the deblocking of chemically synthesized ollgoribonucleotides. Substantial phosphoryl migration was observed for both enzymatically derived poly(uridylic acid) and synthetic uridine oligoribonucleotides 2′-O-protected with the 1 -(2.fluorophenyl)-4 (Fpmp) group, when these species were subjected to the acidic conditions suggested for Fpmp deprotection. Strand scission occurred in parallel and could be demonstrated readily by 5′-32 end labeling, but not by 3′-32 end labellng, of the acid-treated oligoribonucleotides. Increasing the pH of the deprotection solution and decreasing the temperature at which the deprotection was accomplished diminished both phosphoryl migration and strand scission. A mechanism that can rationalize these results is discussed.
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