A novel 2'-modification, 2'-O-[2-(methylthio)ethyl] or 2'-O-MTE, has been incorporated into oligonucleotides and evaluated for properties relevant to antisense activity. The results were compared with the previously characterized 2'-O-[2-(methoxy)ethyl] 2'-O-MOE modification. As expected, the 2'-O-MTE modified oligonucleotides exhibited improved binding to human serum albumin compared to the 2'-O-MOE modified oligonucleotides. The 2'-O-MTE oligonucleotides maintained high binding affinity to target RNA. Nuclease digestion of 2'-O-MTE oligonucleotides showed that they have limited resistance to exonuclease degradation. We analyzed the crystal structure of a decamer DNA duplex containing the 2'-O-MTE modifcation. Analysis of the crystal structure provides insight into the improved RNA binding affinity, protein binding affinity and limited resistance of 2'-O-MTE modified oligonucleotides to exonuclease degradation.