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Biochemistry. 2003 Nov 18;42(45):13339-46.

Minor groove binding DNA ligands with expanded A/T sequence length recognition, selective binding to bent DNA regions and enhanced fluorescent properties.

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Dr. B. R. Ambedkar Center for Biomedical Research, University of Delhi, Delhi-110007, India.


DNA minor groove ligands provide a paradigm for double-stranded DNA recognition, where common structural motifs provide a crescent shape that matches the helix turn. Since minor groove ligands are useful in medicine, new ligands with improved binding properties based on the structural information about DNA-ligand complexes could be useful in developing new drugs. Here, two new synthetic analogues of AT specific Hoechst 33258 5-(4-methylpiperazin-1-yl)-2-[2'-(3,4-dimethoxyphenyl)-5'-benzimidazolyl] benzimidazole (DMA) and 5-(4-methylpiperazin-1-yl)-2-[2'[2''-(4-hydroxy-3-methoxyphenyl)-5' '-benzimidazolyl]-5'-benzimidazolyl] benzimidazole (TBZ) were evaluated for their DNA binding properties. Both analogues are bisubstituted on the phenyl ring. DMA contains two ortho positioned methoxy groups, and TBZ contains a phenolic group at C-4 and a methoxy group at C-3. Fluorescence yield upon DNA binding increased 100-fold for TBZ and 16-fold for DMA. Like the parent compound, the new ligands showed low affinity to GC-rich (K approximately 4 x 10(7) M(-1)) relative to AT-rich sequences (K approximately 5 x 10(8) M(-1)), and fluorescence lifetime and anisotropy studies suggest two distinct DNA-ligand complexes. Binding studies indicate expanded sequence recognition for TBZ (8-10 AT base pairs) and tighter binding (DeltaT(m) of 23 degrees C for d (GA(5)T(5)C). Finally, EMSA and equilibrium binding titration studies indicate that TBZ preferentially binds highly hydrated duplex domains with altered A-tract conformations d (GA(4)T(4)C)(2) (K= 3.55 x 10(9) M(-1)) and alters its structure over d (GT(4)A(4)C)(2) (K = 3.3 x 10(8) M(-1)) sequences. Altered DNA structure and higher fluorescence output for the bound fluorophore are consistent with adaptive binding and a constrained final complex. Therefore, the new ligands provide increased sequence and structure selective recognition and enhanced fluorescence upon minor groove binding, features that can be useful for further development as probes for chromatin structure stability.

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