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Mutat Res. 2007 Oct 1;623(1-2):3-13. Epub 2007 Mar 24.

Noncovalent interactions with DNA: an overview.

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Department of Chemistry, Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30302-4098, United States.


Over the last four decades, intense research has focused on the effects of small organic compounds that noncovalently bind to nucleic acids. These interactions have been shown to disrupt replication and/or transcription culminating in cellular death. Accordingly, DNA binding compounds have potential applications as anti-cancer and anti-viral agents. This report provides an overview of the different DNA-binding modes with an emphasis on DNA groove specificity for the groove-binding and intercalation modes. While most DNA-interacting agents selectively bind to DNA by either groove binding or intercalation, some compounds can exhibit both binding modes. The binding mode with the most favorable free energy for complex formation depends on the DNA sequence and structural features of the bound ligand.

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