Lay summary

Oligonucleotides play a central role in cellular processes, as they are the key elements responsible for storage and replication of genetic information and its conversion into proteins. Moreover, they exhibit manifold catalytic activities. Thus, it is not surprising that they have gained increased interest as targets for therapeutic approaches to fight diseases. Furthermore, oligonucleotide analogues have found application as drugs for human cancer therapy and much effort is put into the synthesis and evaluation of novel nucleic acid-based drug candidates. The exploration of cellular mechanisms as well as the development and evaluation of anti-cancer drugs require highly sensitive and accurate analytical tools. Electrospray tandem mass spectrometry is one of the preferred techniques for these tasks, as it is capable of handling the small amounts of material, while simultaneously providing detailed structural information.Results of research will be a significant addition to our understanding of the binding of metal ions and important anti-cancer drugs to oligonucleotides and provide fundamental information for future characterization of in-vitro and isolated in-vivo constructs. We can foresee significant impact of this research on medicinal and biological research regarding cancer treatment and apoptosis in general.