Author(s): White S, Baird EE, Dervan PB
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Abstract BACKGROUND: Cell-permeable small molecules that target predetermined DNA sequences with high affinity and specificity have the potential to control gene expression. A binary code has been developed to correlate DNA sequence with side-by-side pairings between N-methylpyrrole (Py) and N-methylimidazole (Im) carboxamides in the DNA minor groove. We set out to determine the relative energetics of pairings of Im/Py, Py/Im, Im/Im, and Py/Py for targeting G.C and A.T base pairs. A key specificity issue, which has not been previously addressed, is whether an Im/Im pair is energetically equivalent to an Im/Py pair for targeting G.C base pairs. RESULTS: Equilibrium association constants were determined at two five-base-pair sites for a series of four six-ring hairpin polyamides, in order to test the relative energetics of the four aromatic amino-acid pairings opposite G.C and A.T base pairs in the central position. We observed that a G.C base pair was effectively targeted with Im/Py but not Py/Im, Py/Py, or Im/Im. The A.T base pair was effectively targeted with Py/Py but not Im/Py, Py/Im, or Im/Im. CONCLUSIONS: An Im/Im pairing is energetically disfavored for the recognition of both A.T and G.C. This specificity will create important limitations on undesirable slipped motifs that are available for unlinked dimers in the minor groove. Baseline energetic parameters will thus be created which, using the predictability of the current pairing rules for specific molecular recognition of double-helical DNA, will guide further second-generation polyamide design for DNA recognition.
This article was published in Chem Biol
and referenced in Medicinal Chemistry