Quantitative thermodynamic predication of interactions between nucleic acid and non-nucleic acid species using Microsoft excel

Jiaqi Zou, Na Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Scopus citations


Proper design of nucleic acid sequences is crucial for many applications. We have previously established a thermodynamics-based quantitative model to help design aptamer-based nucleic acid probes by predicting equilibrium concentrations of all interacting species. To facilitate customization of this thermodynamic model for different applications, here we present a generic and easy-to-use platform to implement the algorithm of the model with Microsoft® Excel formulas and VBA (Visual Basic for Applications) macros. Two Excel spreadsheets have been developed: one for the applications involving only nucleic acid species, the other for the applications involving both nucleic acid and non-nucleic acid species. The spreadsheets take the nucleic acid sequences and the initial concentrations of all species as input, guide the user to retrieve the necessary thermodynamic constants, and finally calculate equilibrium concentrations for all species in various bound and unbound conformations. The validity of both spreadsheets has been verified by comparing the modeling results with the experimental results on nucleic acid sequences reported in the literature. This Excel-based platform described here will allow biomedical researchers to rationalize the sequence design of nucleic acid probes using the thermodynamics-based modeling even without relevant theoretical and computational skills.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)755-762
Number of pages8
JournalComputer Methods and Programs in Biomedicine
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2013



  • Equilibrium analysis
  • Excel
  • Nucleic acid probes
  • Sequence design
  • Thermodynamics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Software
  • Health Informatics

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