Custom LNA Oligonucleotide Design Guidelines

Guidelines for designing your own Custom LNA Oligonucleotides
  • Main Image Navi
The high affinity of an LNA-enhanced oligonucleotide to its complementary sequence results in dramatically improved specificity and sensitivity when compared with traditional DNA or RNA oligos. When designing LNA oligos, incorporation of LNA in a sequence strongly affects the properties of the oligonucleotide, so you must take great care to find the right design for your experimental purpose.

We offer synthesis of Custom LNA Oligonucleotides with a wide variety of modifications, labels, synthesis scales, purification method options, etc. to meet the requirements of your experiments.

Follow the guidelines below for designing and optimizing your own Custom LNA Oligonucleotides. You can either design the sequence and LNA spiking pattern yourself or let our experts help you with the design.

Design options

Design your own LNA oligo
Let us design your LNA oligo

Tm prediction

Two models for Tm prediction
Recommended use of the models
Assumptions and limitations of the models

Labels and modifications

Attachment chemistry/linkers
Modified bases
Backbone modification

Purification and delivery options

Design your own LNA oligo 
Incorporation of LNA into a sequence strongly affects the properties of the oligonucleotide, and great care must be taken to find the right design for your experimental purpose. While you will want to take advantage of the properties of LNA to achieve high target specificity, it is important not to use too much LNA, because this can result in a very "sticky" oligonucleotide that is difficult to handle experimentally. The design must be optimized by varying the length and LNA content of the oligonucleotide, such that you achieve good mismatch discrimination and high binding specificity, while avoiding unacceptable secondary structure and self-complementarity.

General design guidelines:
  • LNA will bind very tightly to other LNA residues. Avoid self-complementarity and cross-hybridization to other LNA-containing oligonucleotides.
  • Keep the GC-content between 30–60%.
  • Avoid stretches of more than 4 LNA bases, except when designing very short (9–10 nucleotides) oligos.
  • Avoid stretches of 3 or more Gs or Cs.
  • For novel applications, design guidelines may have to be established empirically.

The following tools and calculators are also available to support you:
Tm Prediction Calculator
LNA Oligo Optimizer
Oligo Dilution Calculator
Oligo Resuspension Calculator
Oligo Concentration Converter
LNA Nomenclature Converter

To design and order Custom LNA Oligonucleotides, visit the product catalog page.

Back to top

Let us design your LNA oligo 
QIAGEN’s in-house LNA experts can help you design the best LNA oligonucleotide for your application and target of interest. Your oligonucleotide will be designed for optimal LNA content and positioning to achieve optimal specificity and minimal secondary structure and self-complementarity. To use this service, please provide us with the details ofyour request (target sequence and application) in the contact form.

Back to top
Two models for Tm prediction
QIAGEN uses two different models for predicting the melting temperature (Tm) of LNA oligonucleotides:
  • DNA Tm: This model predicts the Tm of a complex formed between the LNA oligo and a complementary DNA strand.
  • RNA Tm: This is a new model that predicts the Tm of a complex formed between an LNA oligo and a complementary RNA strand.

Both models are based on experimental data from thousands of oligonucleotide hybridizations. For oligonucleotides of 15–27 nucleotides in length, the resulting predictions have a precision of 1.70 and 2.07°C for RNA and DNA targets, respectively.

Recommended use of the models 
We recommend using the RNA Tm for applications in which LNA oligos target RNA sequences. RNA Tm information will be introduced to relevant products in the future.

We generally recommend starting with a hybridization temperature 30°C below the RNA Tm when detecting RNA targets. This temperature translates to approximately 20°C below the DNA Tm. For example, the oligo C+TG+AC+CGT+ATG+GTC+TA+TA will have RNA Tm and DNA Tm of 86 and 70°C, respectively.

Please note that the actual hybridization temperatures may have to be optimized for each experiment.

Assumptions and limitations of the models
  • The Tm calculation models are based on a modified nearest-neighbor thermodynamic model combination and data from measurements of oligonucleotides ranging from 15–27 nucleotides in length.
  • All predictions are based on the following:
  • Oligos range from 6–80 bases in length
    • Salt concentration (Na+) is 115 mM
    • Solution is neutral (pH 7–8)
    • Oligo concentration is 1 and 2 µM for RNA and DNA Tm calculations, respectively.
    • The calculations do not account for effects of divalent cations, triphosphates or chemical modifications except LNA
  • 2’ O-Me modifications can be expected to increase the Tm by 1.3°C per inserted modification. The influence of such modifications has not been taken into account in the models.
A phosphorothioate (PS) backbone can be expected to reduce the Tm by 0.4–1.2°C per inserted modification depending on oligo length and GC content. The influence of such modifications has not been taken into account in the models.

Freedom dyes 5'-end Int 3'-end Excit Emit Alternative
6-FAM (Fluorescein) + + 495 520
MAX 550 + + 531 560 JOE 555
VIC 554
TYE 563 + + 549 563 Cy3
TEX 615 + + 596 613 Texas Red-X 617
TYE 665 + 645 665 Cy5
TYE 705 + 686 705
TET + 522 539
HEX + 538 555
Fluorescein dT + + 495 520
Rhodamine dyes 5'-end Int 3'-end Excit Emit Alternative
TAMRA + 559 583
TAMRA NHS Ester + + + 559 583
ROX NHS Ester + + 588 608
Other 5'-end Int 3'-end Excit Emit Alternative
Dy 750 NHS Ester + 747 776

Back to top
Attachment chemistry/linkers
Amino modifiers 5'-end Int 3'-end
Amino Modifier C6 + +
Amino Modifier C12 +
Amino Modifier C6 dT + +
Amino Modifier +
Uni-Link Amino Modifier + +
Labels/Antibodies 5'-end Int 3'-end
Biotin + +
Biotin dT + +
Biotin TEG + +
Biotin Dual +
PC Biotin +
Thiol modifications 5'-end Int 3'-end
Thiol Modifier C3 S-S +
Thiol modifier C6 S-S +
Spacers and Linkers 5'-end Int 3'-end
C3 + + +
PC Spacer + +
Hexanediol + +
Spacer 9 + +
Spacer 18 + +
1’,2’-Dideoxyribose (dSc) + +
I-Linker +
Other 5'-end Int 3'-end
Digoxigenin NHS Ester (DIG) + +
Cholesteryl-TEG +

Back to top
5'-end Int 3'-end
Dabcyl     +

Back to top
Modified bases
5'-end Int 3'-end
LNA (Locked Nucleic Acid) + + +
2-Aminopurine + +
Trimer-20 + +
Fluoro Bases + +
2,6-Diaminopurine (2-Amino-dA) + +
5-Bromo dU + +
Deoxyuridine + +
Inverted dT +
Dideoxy-C +
5-Methyl dC + + +
Deoxyinosine + + +
5-Nitroindole + +
Ribo A +
Ribo C +
Ribo G +
Ribo U +
2'-O-Methyl RNA Bases + + +

Back to top
5'-end Int 3'-end
Phosphorylation + +

Back to top
Backbone modification
5'-end Int 3'-end
Phosphorothioates + + +

Back to top
Purification options
Our standard practice is to deprotect and desalt all oligonucleotides to remove small molecule impurities, quantify the oligo by UV spectrophotometry to provide an accurate measure of yield, and perform quality control (QC) by mass spectrometry.

Additional purification is recommended for many modified oligonucleotides including heavily LNA-substituted, unmodified oligonucleotides. For demanding applications, such as single nucleotide discrimination and antisense inhibition, purification may improve the performance of the oligonucleotide. For these situations, we typically recommend a standard RP-HPLC purification, which routinely results in >85% purity.

For long oligonucleotides (>60 bases) and for applications requiring oligonucleotides with a very high purity, we recommend PAGE, IE-HPLC (ion-exchange HPLC) or dual HPLC. RNase-free HPLC purification can be applied for oligonucleotides that will be used in applications sensitive to ribonucleases. Please contact us for further information regarding our purification offerings.

Na+ salt exchange is available for oligonucleotides that will be used in applications in which the presence of minute amounts of toxic salts can cause unwanted side reactions.

Modifications and secondary structure of the oligonucleotide might affect yield and purity guarantees. Please contact us to obtain information on guaranteed yield and purity.

Back to top

By default, oligonucleotides are delivered lyophilized in standard tubes. A number of tools for post-delivery concentration adjustment can be accessed here.

  • Orders of 24 oligonucleotides or more can be delivered in 96-well plates.
  • Orders of 96 oligonucleotides or more can be delivered in 384-well plates.

We also offer options for delivery in plates, such as normalization to the same concentration across the plate, delivery of the full yield or mixing of normalized oligonucleotides in the same well.

Please contact us with any request for custom delivery of your oligonucleotides.

Back to top

Top products
Blue boxes - generic image
For experiments requiring custom-designed, LNA-enhanced oligonucleotides
Show details
See products
Blue boxes - generic image
For the synthesis of LNA-containing oligonucleotides
Show details
See products