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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Inhibition of transcription factor-DNA complexes and gene expression by a microgonotropen.

Developing minor groove-binding drugs to selectively inhibit transcription factor (TF)/DNA interactions and accompanying gene expression is a current goal in drug development studies. Equipping minor groove-binding agents with positively charged, major groove-contacting side chains yields microgonotropens (MGTs). Previously, we demonstrated that MGTs were superior inhibitors of TF/DNA complexes in cell-free assays compared with "classical" groove binders, but MGTs showed limited ability to inhibit gene expression. To determine what chemical characteristics contribute to or improve activity, we evaluate five MGTs for their effectiveness in inhibiting TF complex formation and resultant transcription by using the c-fos serum response element (SRE) as a target. MGT L1 binds DNA via a bisbenzimidazole equipped with a tripyrrole moiety. It is compared with analog L2, which has been functionalized with propylamines on each of the three pyrroles. L2, which binds DNA at subpicomolar concentrations, was at least three orders of magnitude more potent than L1 at inhibiting TF binding to the c-fos SRE in cell-free assays. Unlike L1 and previous MGTs, L2 also inhibited endogenous c-fos expression in NIH 3T3 cells at micromolar levels. Structure/activity relationships suggest that, although the tripyrrole/polyamine functional group of L2 may be largely responsible for its inhibition of TF complexes in cell-free assays, its bisbenzimidazole moiety appears to impart improved cellular uptake and activity. These findings make L2 a promising lead candidate for future, rational MGT design.[1]


  1. Inhibition of transcription factor-DNA complexes and gene expression by a microgonotropen. White, C.M., Satz, A.L., Bruice, T.C., Beerman, T.A. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. (2001) [Pubmed]
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