- Single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) are important markers in disease genetics and pharmacogenomic studies. Oligodeoxyribonucleotides (ONs) modified with 5-[3-(1-pyrenecarboxamido)propynyl]-2'-deoxyuridine monomer X enable detection of SNPs at non-stringent conditions due to differential fluorescence emission of matched versus mismatched nucleic acid duplexes. Herein, the thermal denaturation and optical spectroscopic characteristics of monomer X are compared to the corresponding locked nucleic acid (LNA) and ?-L-LNA monomers Y and Z. ONs modified with monomers Y or Z result in a) larger increases in fluorescence intensity upon hybridization to complementary DNA, b) formation of more brightly fluorescent duplexes due to markedly larger fluorescence emission quantum yields (?(F) =0.44-0.80) and pyrene extinction coefficients, and c) improved optical discrimination of SNPs in DNA targets. Optical spectroscopy studies suggest that the nucleobase moieties of monomers X-Z adopt anti and syn conformations upon hybridization with matched and mismatched targets, respectively. The polarity-sensitive 1-pyrenecarboxamido fluorophore is, thereby, either positioned in the polar major groove or in the hydrophobic duplex core close to quenching nucleobases. Calculations suggest that the bicyclic skeletons of LNA and ?-L-LNA monomers Y and Z influence the glycosidic torsional angle profile leading to altered positional control and photophysical properties of the C5-fluorophore.Copyright © 2011 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim.