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Nucleic Acids Res. 2011 Dec;39(22):9649-58. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkr699. Epub 2011 Sep 3.

Complexity in the binding of minor groove agents: netropsin has two thermodynamically different DNA binding modes at a single site.

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Department of Chemistry, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA.


Structural results with minor groove binding agents, such as netropsin, have provided detailed, atomic level views of DNA molecular recognition. Solution studies, however, indicate that there is complexity in the binding of minor groove agents to a single site. Netropsin, for example, has two DNA binding enthalpies in isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) experiments that indicate the compound simultaneously forms two thermodynamically different complexes at a single AATT site. Two proposals for the origin of this unusual observation have been developed: (i) two different bound species of netropsin at single binding sites and (ii) a netropsin induced DNA hairpin to duplex transition. To develop a better understanding of DNA recognition complexity, the two proposals have been tested with several DNAs and the methods of mass spectrometry (MS), polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (PAGE) and nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy in addition to ITC. All of the methods with all of the DNAs investigated clearly shows that netropsin forms two different complexes at AATT sites, and that the proposal for an induced hairpin to duplex transition in this system is incorrect.

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