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

Characterization of a novel DNA minor-groove complex.

Many dicationic amidine compounds bind in the DNA minor groove and have excellent biological activity against a range of infectious diseases. Para-substituted aromatic diamidines such as furamidine, which is currently being tested against trypanosomiasis in humans, and berenil, which is used in animals, are typical examples of this class. Recently, a meta-substituted diamidine, CGP 40215A, has been found to have excellent antitrypanosomal activity. The compound has a linear, conjugated linking group that can be protonated under physiological conditions when the compound interacts with DNA. Structural and molecular dynamics analysis of the DNA complex indicated an unusual AT-specific complex that involved water-mediated H-bonds between one amidine of the compound and DNA bases at the floor of the minor groove. To investigate this unique system in more detail DNase I footprinting, surface plasmon resonance biosensor techniques, linear dichroism, circular dichroism, ultraviolet-visible spectroscopy, and additional molecular dynamics simulations have been conducted. Spectrophotometric titrations of CGP 40215A binding to poly(dAT)(2) have characteristics of DNA-binding-induced spectral changes as well as effects due to binding-induced protonation of the compound linker. Both footprinting and surface plasmon resonance results show that this compound has a high affinity for AT-rich sequences of DNA but very weak binding to GC sequences. The dissociation kinetics of the CGP 40215A-DNA complex are much slower than with similar diamidines such as berenil. The linear dichroism results support a minor-groove complex for the compound in AT DNA sequences. Molecular dynamics studies complement the structural analysis and provide a clear picture of the importance of water in mediating the dynamic interactions between the ligand and the DNA bases in the minor groove.[1]


  1. Characterization of a novel DNA minor-groove complex. Nguyen, B., Hamelberg, D., Bailly, C., Colson, P., Stanek, J., Brun, R., Neidle, S., Wilson, W.D. Biophys. J. (2004) [Pubmed]
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