Design of sequence-specific DNA intercalators

by Fechter, Eric James

Abstract (Summary)
Small molecules that bind specific DNA sequences may have powerful therapeutic applications by influencing the mechanisms of abnormal gene expression. Polyamides containing N-methylimidazole (Im) and N-methylpyrrole (Py) specifically bind the minor groove of DNA and have been shown to inhibit many protein-DNA complexes. However, some major groove-binding proteins can co-occupy the same DNA sequences as polyamides. Presented here are polyamide-intercalator conjugates that specifically bind target regions of DNA and deliver a non-specific intercalator to an adjacent site. The studies detail intercalative unwinding of specific DNA sequences to allosterically inhibit any protein:DNA complex. The evolution of sequence-specific polyamides to bisintercalate DNA and cause larger distortion of the helix is described. The success of hybrid molecules containing mixed DNA binding modes led to the development of a bis-polyamide-intercalator motif, modeled after the natural product actinomycin D, which is capable of specifically binding extended sequences of DNA. Also described is a polyamide-intercalator series which shows large fluorescence enhancement upon specific DNA binding and may be useful in detecting specific DNA sequences within living cells.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:Douglas C. Rees; Peter B. Dervan; Dennis A. Dougherty; Robert H. Grubbs

School:California Institute of Technology

School Location:USA - California

Source Type:Master's Thesis



Date of Publication:05/31/2005

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