Résumé : Large expansions of GAA.TTC repeats in the first intron of the frataxin (X25) gene are the principal mutation responsible for Friedreich's ataxia (FRDA). Sticky DNA, based on R.R.Y triplexes, was found at the expanded GAA.TTC repeats from FRDA patients. The (GAAGGA.TCCTTC)(65) repeat occurs in the same frataxin locus but is nonpathogenic and does not form sticky DNA. To elucidate the behavior of sticky DNA, we introduced various extents of GGA.TCC interruptions into the long GAA.TTC repeat. More than 20% of GGA.TCC interruptions abolished the formation of sticky DNA. However, the GAA.TTC repeats with less than 11% of GGA.TCC interruptions formed triplexes and/or sticky DNA similar to the uninterrupted repeat sequence. These triplexes showed different P1 nuclease sensitivities, and the GGA.TCC interruptions were slightly more sensitive than the surrounding GAA.TTC repeats. Furthermore, genetic instability investigations in Escherichia coli revealed that a small number (4%) of interruptions substantially stabilized the long GAA.TTC tracts. Furthermore, the greater the extent of interruptions of the GAA.TTC repeats, the less inhibition of in vitro transcription was observed, as expected, based on the capacity of interruptions to inhibit the formation of sticky DNA. We propose that the interruptions introduce base mismatches into the R.R.Y triplex, which explains the observed chemical and biological properties.