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Nucleic Acids Res. 2005 Feb 9;33(3):912-21. Print 2005.

Molecular recognition of DNA base pairs by the formamido/pyrrole and formamido/imidazole pairings in stacked polyamides.

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Department of Chemistry, Furman University, Greenville, SC 29613, USA.


Polyamides containing an N-terminal formamido (f) group bind to the minor groove of DNA as staggered, antiparallel dimers in a sequence-specific manner. The formamido group increases the affinity and binding site size, and it promotes the molecules to stack in a staggered fashion thereby pairing itself with either a pyrrole (Py) or an imidazole (Im). There has not been a systematic study on the DNA recognition properties of the f/Py and f/Im terminal pairings. These pairings were analyzed here in the context of f-ImPyPy, f-ImPyIm, f-PyPyPy and f-PyPyIm, which contain the central pairing modes, -ImPy- and -PyPy-. The specificity of these triamides towards symmetrical recognition sites allowed for the f/Py and f/Im terminal pairings to be directly compared by SPR, CD and DeltaT (M) experiments. The f/Py pairing, when placed next to the -ImPy- or -PyPy- central pairings, prefers A/T and T/A base pairs to G/C base pairs, suggesting that f/Py has similar DNA recognition specificity to Py/Py. With -ImPy- central pairings, f/Im prefers C/G base pairs (>10 times) to the other Watson-Crick base pairs; therefore, f/Im behaves like the Py/Im pair. However, the f/Im pairing is not selective for the C/G base pair when placed next to the -PyPy- central pairings.

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