The 10-23 RNA cleaving DNAzyme has been shown to cleave any purine-pyrimidine (RY) junction under simulated physiological conditions. In this study, we systematically examine the DNAzymes relative activity against different RY combinations in order to determine the hierarchy of substrate core dinucleotide sequence susceptibility. The reactivity of each substrate dinucleotide compared in the same background sequence with the appropriately matched DNAzyme was found to follow the scheme AU = GU >> or = GC >> AC. The relatively poor activity of the DNAzyme against AC and GC containing substrates was found to be improved substantially by modifications to the binding domain which subtly weaken its interaction with the substrate core. The most effective modification resulting in rate enhancement of up to 200-fold, was achieved by substitution of deoxyguanine with deoxyinosine such that the base pair interaction with the RNA substrates core C is reduced from three hydrogen bonds to two. The increased cleavage activity generated by this modification could be important for application of the 10-23 DNAzyme particularly when the target site core is an AC dinucleotide.