Double- and single-stranded oligodeoxynucleotides containing unmethylated cytosine-guanosine (CpG) dinucleotides (CpG-ODN) activate immune cells via TLR9. In this report we synthesized hybrid DNA-RNA molecules (HDR) in order to further explore the structure-immune function relationship of CpG-ODN in TLR9 signaling and the potential immunomodulatory properties of RNA. We demonstrate that replacement of the deoxyadenosine flanking sequences, critical for the immune activating properties of CpG-ODN, with a similar number of adenosines, although not guanosines, cytosines, or uracils, maintains complete immunostimulatory activity of the hybrid oligonucleotide in vitro, whereas a similar RNA replacement of even 1 base of the required unmethylated 6 base DNA motif (purine-purine-CpG-pyrimidine-pyrimidine) results in a complete loss of activity. Regardless of whether the critical flanking sequence was RNA or DNA there was no significant change in the quantitative or qualitative immune-stimulating activity, or TLR-specificity of the resulting sequences, thus underscoring the relatively permissive functional role of the flanking sequence, and the more specific role of the motif in mediating TLR9 signaling. These data further support a potential role for RNA in immunomodulation.