Naming of phosphate oxygens in nucleotides

Peter Slickers slickers at
Mon Nov 20 03:58:18 EST 1995

Deoxy-nucleotides have three prochiral centers -- C2', C5', and P. 
This prochiral centers are carrying two identical substituents but
although it is possible to assign unambigously a unique name to 
each substituent. This is done in IUPAC recommendations of 1982 
(1983. Europ J Biochem, 131: 9-15.) for H2'1, H2'2 of C2' and 
H5'1, H5'2 of C5'.  H2'1 and H5'1 are pro-S whereas H2'2 and H5'2 are 

DOES anybody knows if there is any recommendation for the naming of the 
two phosphate oxygens OP1 and OP2 according to their position in 
relation to the central P ?

The structural meaning of this would be, whether OP1 is pointing towards
the minor or the major groove in a DNA double helix. 


Peter Slickers                                  slickers at
Institut fuer Molekulare Biotechnologie
Beutenbergstrasse 11, Jena                      Tel.: +49-3641-65-6202
Postfach 10 08 13, D-07708 Jena, Germany        Fax:  +49-3641-65-6210

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