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J Mol Biol. 1986 Oct 5;191(3):495-507.

Computer modeling of actinomycin D interactions with double-helical DNA.


We have performed molecular mechanical calculations on intercalation complexes of actinomycin D with a series of base-paired hexanucleoside pentaphosphates; d(GCGCGC)2, d(GCCGGC)2, d(GCATGC)2, d(GCTAGC)2 and d(ATGCAT)2. Our results are in good agreement with previous experimental work on sequence selectivity. The results provide a rationalization for the strong preference of actinomycin D to intercalate on the 3' side of guanine residues, consistent with previously proposed models. Finally, the computed structures for d(ATGCAT)2-actinomycin D complexes have been compared with two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance nuclear Overhauser effect experimental results. To our knowledge, this is the first extensive comparison of molecular mechanical model structures for a drug-DNA complex with experimental solution phase data. We find generally good agreement between our computational models and the experimental solution phase structures.

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