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Nucleic Acids Res. 2012 Dec;40(22):11510-7. doi: 10.1093/nar/gks897. Epub 2012 Oct 4.

Binding of hairpin pyrrole and imidazole polyamides to DNA: relationship between torsion angle and association rate constants.

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Institute for Integrated Cell-Material Sciences (WPI-iCeMS), Kyoto University, Yoshida Honmachi, Sakyo, Kyoto 606-8501, Japan.


N-methylpyrrole (Py)-N-methylimidazole (Im) polyamides are small organic molecules that bind to DNA with sequence specificity and can be used as synthetic DNA-binding ligands. In this study, five hairpin eight-ring Py-Im polyamides 1-5 with different number of Im rings were synthesized, and their binding behaviour was investigated with surface plasmon resonance assay. It was found that association rate (k(a)) of the Py-Im polyamides with their target DNA decreased with the number of Im in the Py-Im polyamides. The structures of four-ring Py-Im polyamides derived from density functional theory revealed that the dihedral angle of the Py amide carbonyl is 14∼18°, whereas that of the Im is significantly smaller. As the minor groove of DNA has a helical structure, planar Py-Im polyamides need to change their conformation to fit it upon binding to the minor groove. The data explain that an increase in planarity of Py-Im polyamide induced by the incorporation of Im reduces the association rate of Py-Im polyamides. This fundamental knowledge of the binding of Py-Im polyamides to DNA will facilitate the design of hairpin Py-Im polyamides as synthetic DNA-binding modules.

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