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1.  Identification of Binding Mode of a Platinum (II) Complex, PtCl2(DIP), and Calf Thymus DNA 
The Pt(II) complex, PtCl2(DIP) (DIP = chelating dinitrogen ligand: 4,7-diphenyl-1,10-phenanthroline), was synthesized and characterized by elemental analysis (CHN) and 1H NMR and UV-vis techniques. The binding of this complex to calf thymus DNA was investigated using various physicochemical methods such as spectrophotometric, circular dichroism, spectrofluorometric, melting temperature, and viscosimetric techniques. Upon addition of the complex, important changes were observed in the characteristic UV-Vis bands (hyperchromism) of calf thymus DNA (CT-DNA): increase in melting temperature, sharp increase in specific viscosity of DNA, and induced CD spectral changes. Also the fluorescence spectral characteristics and interaction of Pt complex with DNA have been studied. Pt bound to DNA showed a marked decrease in the fluorescence intensity. The results show that both the complex and the NR molecules can intercalate competitively into the DNA double-helix structure. The experimental results show that the mode of binding of the this complex to DNA is classical intercalation.
PMCID: PMC3202101  PMID: 22110411
2.  Synthesis Characterization and DNA Interaction Studies of a New Zn(II) Complex Containing Different Dinitrogen Aromatic Ligands 
A mononuclear complex of Zn(II), [Zn(DIP)2 (DMP)] (NO3)2·2H2O in which DIP is 4,7-diphenyl-1,10-phenanthroline and DMP is 4,4′-dimethyl-2,2′-bipyridine has been prepared and characterized by 1HNMR spectroscopy, FT-IR, UV-Vis and elemental analysis techniques. DNA-binding properties of the complex were studied using UV-vis spectra, circular dichroism (CD) spectra, fluorescence, cyclic voltammetry (CV), and viscosity measurements. The results indicate that this zinc(II) complex can intercalate into the stacked base pairs of DNA and compete with the strong intercalator ethidium bromide for the intercalative binding sites.
PMCID: PMC3432521  PMID: 22956919
3.  DNA Interaction Studies of a New Platinum(II) Complex Containing Different Aromatic Dinitrogen Ligands 
A new mononuclear Pt(II) complex, [Pt(DMP)(DIP)]Cl2.H2O, in which DMP is 4,4-dimethyl-2,2-bipyridine and DIP is 4,7-diphenyl-1,10-phenantroline, has been synthesized and characterized by physicochemical and spectroscopic methods. The binding interaction of this complex with calf thymus DNA (CT-DNA) was investigated using fluorimetry, spectrophotometry, circular dichroism, viscosimetry and cyclic voltametry (CV). UV-VIS spectrum showed 4 nm bathochromic shift of the absorption band at 280 nm along with significant hypochromicity for the absorption band of the complex. The intrnisic binding constant (Kb = 2 × 104 M−1) is more in keeping with intercalators and suggests this binding mode. The viscosity measurements showed that the complex-DNA interaction can be hydrophobic and confirm intercalation. Moreover, the complex induced detectable changes in the CD spectrum of CT-DNA. The fluorescence studies revealed that the probable quenching mechanism of fluorescence of the complex by CT-DNA is static quenching. The thermodynamic parameters (ΔH > 0 and ΔS > 0) showed that main interaction with hydrogenic forces occurred that is intercalation mode. Also, CV results confirm this mode because, with increasing the CT-DNA concentration, shift to higher potential was observed.
PMCID: PMC3246310  PMID: 22216016
4.  Targeting the endoplasmic reticulum with a membrane-interactive luminescent ruthenium(ii) polypyridyl complex† †Electronic supplementary information (ESI) available: Experimental details, characterization of 2 and Fig. S1–S6. See DOI: 10.1039/c3sc51725j Click here for additional data file.  
Chemical Science  2013;4(12):4512-4519.
The characterization and bioactivity of the dinuclear ruthenium(ii) complex [(Ru(DIP)2)2(tpphz)]4+ (DIP = 4,7-diphenyl-1,10-phenanthroline and tpphz = tetrapyrido[3,2-a:2′,3′-c:3′′,2′′-h:2′′′,3′′′-j]phenazine) is reported.
The characterization and bioactivity of the dinuclear ruthenium(ii) complex [(Ru(DIP)2)2(tpphz)]4+ (DIP = 4,7-diphenyl-1,10-phenanthroline and tpphz = tetrapyrido[3,2-a:2′,3′-c:3′′,2′′-h:2′′′,3′′′-j]phenazine) is reported. This new complex is found to be luminescent in acetonitrile, where excitation into MLCT (metal-to-ligand charge-transfer) bands in the visible area of the spectrum (λ ex = 450 nm, ε = 45 000 M–1 cm–1) result in red emission (λ em,max = 620 nm, Φ MLCT = 0.017). Aqueous in vitro binding studies indicate that this complex binds to duplex DNA with an affinity of 1.8 × 106 M–1 through a non-classical groove-binding interaction, however, unlike the parent complex [(Ru(phen)2)2(tpphz)]4+ (phen = 1,10-phenanthroline), it also displays an increase in MLCT luminescence on addition of liposomes. Confocal microscopy and TEM studies show that this lipophilic complex targets the endoplasmic reticulum of eukaryotic cells, where it functions as an imaging agent for this organelle, and cytotoxicity studies in human cancer cell lines indicate a comparable potency to the anti-cancer drug cisplatin.
PMCID: PMC4285105  PMID: 25580209
5.  Initial DNA Interactions of the Binuclear Threading Intercalator Λ,Λ-[μbidppz(bipy)4Ru2]4+: An NMR Study with [d(CGCGAATTCGCG)]2** 
Binuclear polypyridine ruthenium compounds have been shown to slowly intercalate into DNA, following a fast initial binding on the DNA surface. For these compounds, intercalation requires threading of a bulky substituent, containing one RuII, through the DNA base-pair stack, and the accompanying DNA duplex distortions are much more severe than with intercalation of mononuclear compounds. Structural understanding of the process of intercalation may greatly gain from a characterisation of the initial interactions between binuclear RuII compounds and DNA. We report a structural NMR study on the binuclear RuII intercalator Λ,Λ-B (Λ,Λ-[μ-bidppz(bipy)4Ru2]4+; bidppz=11,11′-bis(dipyrido[3,2-a:2′,3′-c]phenazinyl, bipy = 2,2′-bipyridine) mixed with the palindromic DNA [d(CGCGAATTCGCG)]2. Threading of Λ,Λ-B depends on the presence and length of AT stretches in the DNA. Therefore, the latter was selected to promote initial binding, but due to the short stretch of AT base pairs, final intercalation is prevented. Structural calculations provide a model for the interaction: Λ,Λ-B is trapped in a well-defined surface-bound state consisting of an eccentric minor-groove binding. Most of the interaction enthalpy originates from electrostatic and van der Waals contacts, whereas intermolecular hydrogen bonds may help to define a unique position of Λ,Λ-B. Molecular dynamics simulations show that this minor-groove binding mode is stable on a nanosecond scale. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first structural study by NMR spectroscopy on a binuclear Ru compound bound to DNA. In the calculated structure, one of the positively charged Ru2+ moieties is near the central AATT region; this is favourable in view of potential intercalation as observed by optical methods for DNA with longer AT stretches. Circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy suggests that a similar binding geometry is formed in mixtures of Λ,Λ-B with natural calf thymus DNA. The present minor-groove binding mode is proposed to represent the initial surface interactions of binuclear RuII compounds prior to intercalation into AT-rich DNA.
PMCID: PMC3743166  PMID: 23447081
DNA; intercalation; minor-groove binding; NMR spectroscopy; ruthenium
6.  The Paradoxical Thermodynamic Basis for the Interaction of Ethylene Glycol, Glycine, and Sarcosine Chains with Bovine Carbonic Anhydrase II 
This paper describes a systematic study of the thermodynamics of association of bovine carbonic anhydrase II (BCA) and para-substituted benzenesulfonamides with chains of oligoglycine, oligosarcosine, and oligoethylene glycol of lengths of 1-5 residues. For all three of these series of ligands, the enthalpy of binding became less favorable, and the entropy less unfavorable, as the chain length of the ligands increased. The dependence on chain length of the enthalpy was almost perfectly compensated by that of the entropy; this compensation resulted in dissociation constants that were independent of chain length for the three series of ligands. Changes in heat capacity were independent of chain length for the three series, and revealed that the amount of molecular surface area buried upon protein-ligand complexation did not increase with increasing chain length. Taken together, these data refute a model in which the chains of the ligands interact hydrophobically with the surface of BCA. To explain the data, a model is proposed based on decreasing “tightness” of the protein-ligand interface as the chain length of the ligand increases. This decreasing tightness, as chain length increases, is reflected in a less favorable enthalpy (due to fewer van der Waals contacts) and a less unfavorable entropy (due to greater mobility of the chain) of binding for ligands with long chains than for those with short chains. Thus, this study demonstrates a surprising example of enthalpy/entropy compensation in a well-defined system. Understanding this compensation is integral to the rational design of high-affinity ligands for proteins.
PMCID: PMC2518651  PMID: 16637649
7.  Luminescence of ruthenium(II) polypyridyls: evidence for intercalative binding to Z-DNA. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1991;19(10):2595-2602.
Photophysical studies have been undertaken to characterize the binding interactions of enantiomers of Ru(phen)3(2+), Ru(DIP)3(2+), and racemic Ru(bpy)2dppz2+ (where phen = 1,10-phenanthroline, DIP = 4,7-diphenylphenanthroline, and dppz = dipyridophenazine) with Z-form poly d(GC). Parallel enhancements in steady state luminescent intensity and a lengthening of luminescent lifetimes are seen for ruthenium enantiomers with Z-DNA as for B-DNA but with enantioselectivities reversed. Greater enhancements are seen for delta-isomers with the right-handed helix but for lambda-isomers with the left-handed helix. Ru(bpy)2dppz2+, an avid intercalator in B-DNA, displays no luminescence free in aqueous solution, but luminesces brightly bound to either B- or Z-poly d(GC). Stern-Volmer quenching studies also support the enantioselective preference in binding to B-DNA by delta-isomers and a reversal with binding to Z-DNA preferentially by the lambda-isomers. Steady state polarization studies indicate a rigid association of the complexes with both B- and Z-DNA on the time-scale of their emission and again with symmetrical enantioselectivities for the left and right-handed helices. Given the well characterized intercalative association of the complexes with B-DNA, the parallel results seen here with Z-DNA point strongly to a comparable intercalative association with the Z-form helix. That molecules may interact with Z-DNA through intercalation has not been demonstrated previously and now requires consideration in describing the range of interactions of small molecules and proteins with Z-DNA.
PMCID: PMC328175  PMID: 2041736
8.  Protein-Ligand Interactions: Thermodynamic Effects Associated with Increasing Nonpolar Surface Area 
Journal of the American Chemical Society  2011;133(46):18518-18521.
Thermodynamic parameters were determined for complex formation between the Grb2 SH2 domain and Ac–pTyr–Xaa–Asn derived tripeptides in which the Xaa residue is an α,α-cycloaliphatic amino acid that varies in ring size from 3- to 7-membered. Although the 6- and 7-membered ring analogs are approximately equipotent, binding affinities of those having 3- to 6-membered rings increase incrementally with ring size because increasingly more favorable binding enthalpies dominate increasingly unfavorable binding entropies, a finding consistent with an enthalpy-driven hydrophobic effect. Crystallographic analysis reveals that the only significant differences in structures of the complexes are in the number of van der Waals contacts between the domain and the methylene groups in the Xaa residues. There is a positive correlation between buried nonpolar surface area and binding free energy and enthalpy, but not with ΔCp. Displacing a water molecule from a protein-ligand interface is not necessarily reflected in a favorable change in binding entropy. These findings highlight some of the fallibilities associated with commonly held views of relationships of structure and energetics in protein-ligand interactions and have significant implications for ligand design.
PMCID: PMC3218293  PMID: 22007755
9.  Binding of Phenazinium Dye Safranin T to Polyriboadenylic Acid: Spectroscopic and Thermodynamic Study 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(2):e87992.
Here, we report results from experiments designed to explore the association of the phenazinium dye safranin T (ST, 3,7-diamino-2,8-dimethyl-5-phenylphenazinium chloride) with single and double stranded form of polyriboadenylic acid (hereafter poly-A) using several spectroscopic techniques. We demonstrate that the dye binds to single stranded polyriboadenylic acid (hereafter ss poly-A) with high affinity while it does not interact at all with the double stranded (ds) form of the polynucleotide. Fluorescence and absorption spectral studies reveal the molecular aspects of binding of ST to single stranded form of the polynucleotide. This observation is also supported by the circular dichroism study. Thermodynamic data obtained from temperature dependence of binding constant reveals that association is driven by negative enthalpy change and opposed by negative entropy change. Ferrocyanide quenching studies have shown intercalative binding of ST to ss poly-A. Experiments on viscosity measurements confirm the binding mode of the dye to be intercalative. The effect of [Na+] ion concentration on the binding process suggests the role of electrostatic forces in the complexation. Present studies reveal the utility of the dye in probing nucleic acid structure.
PMCID: PMC3912202  PMID: 24498422
10.  Energetics of echinomycin binding to DNA 
Nucleic Acids Research  2003;31(21):6191-6197.
Differential scanning calorimetry and UV thermal denaturation have been used to determine a complete thermodynamic profile for the bis-intercalative interaction of the peptide antibiotic echinomycin with DNA. The new calorimetric data are consistent with all previously published binding data, and afford the most rigorous and direct determination of the binding enthalpy possible. For the association of echinomycin with DNA, we found ΔG° = –7.6 kcal mol–1, ΔH = +3.8 kcal mol–1 and ΔS = +38.9 cal mol–1 K–1 at 20°C. The binding reaction is clearly entropically driven, a hallmark of a process that is predominantly stabilized by hydrophobic interactions, though a deeper analysis of the free energy contributions suggests that direct molecular recognition between echinomycin and DNA, mediated by hydrogen bonding and van der Waals contacts, also plays an important role in stabilizing the complex.
PMCID: PMC275468  PMID: 14576305
11.  Study on the Interaction between Isatin-β-Thiosemicarbazone and Calf Thymus DNA by Spectroscopic Techniques 
The interaction between isatin-β-thiosemicarbazone (IBT) and calf thymus DNA (CT-DNA) was investigated in physiological buffer (pH 7.4) using Neutral Red (NR) dye as a spectral probe by UV–Vis absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy, as well as viscosity measurements. The IBT is stabilized by intercalation in the DNA (K [IBT –DNA] = 1.03×105 M−1), and displaces the NR dye from the NR–DNA complex. The binding constants Kf and number of binding sites (n≈1) of IBT with DNA were obtained by fluorescence quenching method at different temperatures. Furthermore, the enthalpy and entropy of the reaction between IBT and CT-DNA showed that the reaction is enthalpy-favored and entropy-disfavored. The changes in the base stacking of CT-DNA upon the binding of IBT are reflected in the circular dichroic (CD) spectral studies. The viscosity increase of CT-DNA solution is another evidence to indicate that, IBT is able to be intercalated in the DNA base pairs.
PMCID: PMC4277624  PMID: 25561917
CT-DNA; Isatin-β-thiosemicarbazone; Neutral Red dye; Intercalation
12.  Mechanistic Insights into Phosphoprotein-Binding FHA Domains 
Accounts of chemical research  2008;41(8):991-999.
FHA domains are protein modules that switch signals in diverse biological pathways by monitoring the phosphorylation of threonine residues of target proteins. As part of the effort to gain insight into cellular avoidance of cancer, FHA domains involved in the cellular response to DNA damage have been especially well characterized. The complete protein where the FHA domain resides and the interaction partners determine the nature of the signaling. Thus, a key biochemical question is: how do FHA domains pick out their partners from among thousands of alternatives in the cell? This Account discusses the structure, affinity, and specificity of FHA domains and the formation of their functional structure.
Although FHA domains share sequence identity at only five loop residues, they all fold into a β-sandwich of two β-sheets. The conserved Arg and Ser of the recognition loops recognize the phosphorylation of the Thr targeted. Side chains emanating from loops that join β-strand 4 with 5, 6 with 7, or 10 with 11 make specific contacts with amino acids of the ligand that tailor sequence preferences. Many FHA domains choose a partner in extended conformation, somewhat according to the residue three after the phosphoThr in sequence (pT+3 position). One group of FHA domains chooses a short carboxylate-containing side chain at pT+3. Another group chooses a long, branched aliphatic side chain. A third group prefers other hydrophobic or uncharged, polar side chains at pT+3. However, another FHA domain instead chooses on the basis of pT−2, pT−3, and pT+1 positions. An FHA domain from a marker of human cancer instead chooses a much longer protein fragment that adds a β-strand to its β-sheet and that presents hydrophobic residues from a novel helix to the usual recognition surface. This novel recognition site and more remote sites for the binding of other types of protein partners were predicted for the entire family of FHA domains by a bioinformatics approach.
The phosphopeptide-dependent dynamics of an FHA domain, SH2 domain, and PTB domain suggest a common theme: rigid, preformed binding surfaces support van der Waals contacts that provide favorable binding enthalpy. Despite the lack of pronounced conformational changes in FHA domains linked to binding events, more subtle adjustments may be possible. In the one FHA domain tested, phosphoThr peptide binding is accompanied by increased flexibility just outside the binding site and increased rigidity across the β-sandwich. The folding of the same FHA domain progresses through near-native intermediates that stabilize the recognition loops in the center of the phosphoprotein-binding surface; this may promote rigidity in the interface and affinity for targets phosphorylated on threonine.
PMCID: PMC2962622  PMID: 18656966
FHA domain; phosphorylation-dependent signaling; protein structure; molecular recognition; protein dynamics; protein folding
13.  Investigation of Atomic Level Patterns in Protein—Small Ligand Interactions 
PLoS ONE  2009;4(2):e4473.
Shape complementarity and non-covalent interactions are believed to drive protein-ligand interaction. To date protein-protein, protein-DNA, and protein-RNA interactions were systematically investigated, which is in contrast to interactions with small ligands. We investigate the role of covalent and non-covalent bonds in protein-small ligand interactions using a comprehensive dataset of 2,320 complexes.
Methodology and Principal Findings
We show that protein-ligand interactions are governed by different forces for different ligand types, i.e., protein-organic compound interactions are governed by hydrogen bonds, van der Waals contacts, and covalent bonds; protein-metal ion interactions are dominated by electrostatic force and coordination bonds; protein-anion interactions are established with electrostatic force, hydrogen bonds, and van der Waals contacts; and protein-inorganic cluster interactions are driven by coordination bonds. We extracted several frequently occurring atomic-level patterns concerning these interactions. For instance, 73% of investigated covalent bonds were summarized with just three patterns in which bonds are formed between thiol of Cys and carbon or sulfur atoms of ligands, and nitrogen of Lys and carbon of ligands. Similar patterns were found for the coordination bonds. Hydrogen bonds occur in 67% of protein-organic compound complexes and 66% of them are formed between NH- group of protein residues and oxygen atom of ligands. We quantify relative abundance of specific interaction types and discuss their characteristic features. The extracted protein-organic compound patterns are shown to complement and improve a geometric approach for prediction of binding sites.
Conclusions and Significance
We show that for a given type (group) of ligands and type of the interaction force, majority of protein-ligand interactions are repetitive and could be summarized with several simple atomic-level patterns. We summarize and analyze 10 frequently occurring interaction patterns that cover 56% of all considered complexes and we show a practical application for the patterns that concerns interactions with organic compounds.
PMCID: PMC2637420  PMID: 19221587
14.  Intercalative and nonintercalative binding of large cationic porphyrin ligands to calf thymus DNA. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1983;11(17):6121-6139.
The large meso-substituted porphine, meso-tetra(4-N-methylpyridyl)porphine has been identified as a DNA-interactive ligand with a capacity for intercalation (1,2). Subsequently, the 2-N-methyl, 3-N-methyl and N-trimethylanilinium analogues of this porphyrin intercalator have been obtained for physico-chemical analyses (absorption spectroscopy, viscometry, circular dichroism, unwinding of supercoiled DNA). In this paper we discuss the factors affecting the character of porphyrin binding (intercalative, as is the case for the 4-N-methyl and 3-N-methyl porphines, versus non-intercalative, as is the case for the 2-N-methyl and N-trimethylanilinium porphines) and the impact that porphyrins' binding has upon the structure of DNA. The molecular conformation of the porphyrin ligand varies slightly within this series so that the ability of a given porphyrin to intercalate may be correlated with the arrangement of charged groups, the planarity of the porphine ring and the effective width of the individual molecules. The results from these studies indicate that sequence selective binding occurs within a small aperture of solution conditions.
PMCID: PMC326339  PMID: 6889138
15.  Multifaceted interplay between lipophilicity, protein interaction and luminescence parameters of non-intercalative ruthenium(II) polypyridyl complexes controlling cellular imaging and cytotoxic properties 
Here, we examine the photophysical properties of five ruthenium(II) complexes comprising two 4,7-diphenyl-1,10-phenanthroline (dip) ligands and functionalized bipyridine (R1bpy-R2, where R1 = H or CH3, R2 = H, CH3, COO−,4-[3-(2-nitro-1H-imidazol-1-yl)propyl] or 1,3-dicyclohexyl-1-carbonyl-urea) towards development of luminescence probes for cellular imaging. These complexes have been shown to interact with albumin and the formed adducts exhibited up to eightfold increase in the luminescence quantum yield as well as the average lifetime of emission. It was demonstrated that they cannot bind to DNA through the intercalation mode and its luminescence in the presence of DNA is quenching. Cell viability experiments indicated that all complexes possess significant dose-dependent cytotoxicity (with IC50 5–19 μM) on 4T1 breast cancer cell line and their anti-proliferative activity correlates very well with their lipophilicity. Cellular uptake was studied by measuring the ruthenium content in cells using ICP-MS technique. As expected, the better uptake is directly related to higher lipophilicity of doubly charged ruthenium complexes while uptake of monocationic one is much lower in spite of the highest lipophilicity. Additionally staining properties were assessed using flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. These experiments showed that complex with 1,3-dicyclohexyl-1-carbonyl-urea substituent exhibits the best staining properties in spite of the lowest luminescence quantum yield in buffered solution (pH 7.4). Our results point out that both the imaging and cytotoxic properties of the studied ruthenium complexes are strongly influence by the level of internalization and protein interaction.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00775-014-1187-5) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4240912  PMID: 25156150
Ruthenium polypyridyl complexes; Cytotoxicity; Optical imaging; Luminescence; Protein binding
16.  Disturbance of DNA conformation by the binding of testosterone-based platinum drugs via groove-face and intercalative interactions: a molecular dynamics simulation study 
To explore novel platinum-based anticancer agents that are distinct from the structure and interaction mode of the traditional cisplatin by forming the bifunctional intrastrand 1,2 GpG adduct, the monofunctional platinum + DNA adducts with extensive non-covalent interactions had been studied. It was reported that the monofunctional testosterone-based platinum(II) agents present the high anticancer activity. Moreover, it was also found that the testosterone-based platinum agents could cause the DNA helix to undergo significant unwinding and bending over the non-testosterone-based platinum agents. However, the interaction mechanisms of these platinum agents with DNA at the atomic level are not yet clear so far.
In the present work, we used molecular dynamics (MD) simulations and DNA conformational dynamics calculations to study the DNA distortion properties of the testosterone-based platinum + DNA, the improved testosterone-based platinum + DNA and the non-testosterone-based platinum + DNA adducts. The results show that the intercalative interaction of the improved flexible testosterone-based platinum agent with DNA molecule could cause larger DNA conformational distortion than the groove-face interaction of the rigid testosterone-based platinum agent with DNA molecule. Further investigations for the non-testosterone-based platinum agent reveal the occurrence of insignificant change of DNA conformation due to the absence of testosterone ligand in such agent. Based on the DNA dynamics analysis, the DNA base motions relating to DNA groove parameter changes and hydrogen bond destruction of DNA base pairs were also discussed in this work.
The flexible linker in the improved testosterone-based platinum agent causes an intercalative interaction with DNA in the improved testosterone-based platinum + DNA adduct, which is different from the groove-face interaction caused by a rigid linker in the testosterone-based platinum agent. The present investigations provide useful information of DNA conformation affected by a testosterone-based platinum complex at the atomic level.
PMCID: PMC3610147  PMID: 23517640
Molecular dynamics simulations; Groove-face and intercalative interactions; Testosterone-based platinum agent; Pt + DNA adducts; DNA conformation distortion
17.  Spectroscopic investigations on the interactions of potent platinum(II) anticancer agents with bovine serum albumin 
Journal of Chemical Biology  2012;5(3):105-113.
The interactions of three platinum(II)-based anticancer complexes [(5,6-dimethyl-1,10-phenanthroline)(1S,2S-diaminocyclohexane)platinum(II)]2+, [(5,6-dimethyl-1,10-phenanthroline)(1R,2R-diaminocyclohexane)platinum(II)]2+, and [(5,6-dimethyl-1,10-phenanthroline)(1,2-diaminoethane)platinum(II)]2+ (56MEEN) with BSA have been examined by circular dichroism (CD), fluorescence and 1H pulsed gradient spin–echo (PGSE) diffusion NMR spectroscopy. The number of association constants and sites differed depending upon the spectroscopic method. This may be because each technique monitors different types of interaction/s and/or as a consequence of the different concentration ranges required for each technique. The titration of BSA with the achiral 56MEEN as monitored by CD indicates a reduction in the α-helical nature of the albumin, with the association constant calculated to be ~5 × 106 M−1 for one site. Due to the chiral nature of the other two complexes, their association with albumin was not monitored using CD but was examined using fluorescence and PGSE diffusion NMR. Titration of BSA with any of the three metal complexes resulted in quenching of fluorescence, with the number of association sites calculated to be ~1.1, with an association constant of ~2 × 105 M−1. PGSE diffusion NMR provided insights into interactions occurring with the BSA in its entirety, rather than with individual regions. Metal complex binding sites were estimated (~10 equivalent) from the diffusion data, with the average association constant for all sites ~102–103M−1. These experiments highlight the information that can be elucidated from complementary spectroscopic techniques and demonstrate the usefulness of PGSE diffusion NMR in monitoring multiple weak binding sites, which is of great importance in studying drug-biomolecule interactions.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s12154-012-0074-1) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC3375379  PMID: 23667391
Platinum; PGSE NMR; Intercalator; Albumin; Binding; Diffusion; Spectroscopy
18.  Interaction of berenil with the tyrT DNA sequence studied by footprinting and molecular modelling. Implications for the design of sequence-specific DNA recognition agents. 
Nucleic Acids Research  1990;18(15):4479-4488.
We have developed a technique of partially-restrained molecular mechanics enthalpy minimisation which enables the sequence-dependence of the DNA binding of a non-intercalating ligand to be studied for arbitrary sequences of considerable length (greater than = 60 base-pairs). The technique has been applied to analyse the binding of berenil to the minor groove of a 60 base-pair sequence derived from the tyrT promoter; the results are compared with those obtained by DNAse I and hydroxyl radical footprinting on the same sequence. The calculated and experimentally observed patterns of binding are in good agreement. Analysis of the modelling data highlights the importance of DNA flexibility in ligand binding. Further, the electrostatic component of the interaction tends to favour binding to AT-rich regions, whilst the van der Waals interaction energy term favours GC-rich ones. The results also suggest that an important contribution to the observed preference for binding in AT-rich regions arises from lower DNA perturbation energies and is not accompanied by reduced DNA structural perturbations in such sequences. It is therefore concluded that those modes of DNA distortion favourable to binding are probably more flexible in AT-rich regions. The structure of the modelled DNA sequence has also been analysed in terms of helical parameters. For the DNA energy-minimised in the absence of berenil, certain helical parameters show marked sequence-dependence. For example, purine-pyrimidine (R-Y) base pairs show a consistent positive buckle whereas this feature is consistently negative for Y-R pairs. Further, CG steps show lower than average values of slide while GC steps show lower than average values of rise. Similar analysis of the modelling data from the calculations including berenil highlights the importance of DNA flexibility in ligand binding. We observe that the binding of berenil induces characteristic responses in different helical parameters for the base-pairs around the binding site. For example, buckle and tilt tend to become more negative to the 5'-side of the binding site and more positive to the 3'-side, while the base steps at either side of the centre of the site show increased twist and decreased roll.
PMCID: PMC331268  PMID: 2167469
19.  Effect of G-Quadruplex Polymorphism on the Recognition of Telomeric DNA by a Metal Complex 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(3):e58529.
The physiological role(s) played by G-quadruplexes renders these ‘non-canonical’ DNA secondary structures interesting new targets for therapeutic intervention. In particular, the search for ligands for selective recognition and stabilization of G-quadruplex arrangements has led to a number of novel targeted agents. An interesting approach is represented by the use of metal-complexes, their binding to DNA being modulated by ligand and metal ion nature, and by complex stoichiometry. In this work we characterized thermodynamically and stereochemically the interactions of a Ni(II) bis-phenanthroline derivative with telomeric G-quadruplex sequences using calorimetric, chiroptical and NMR techniques. We employed three strictly related sequences based on the human telomeric repeat, namely Tel22, Tel26 and wtTel26, which assume distinct conformations in potassium containing solutions. We were able to monitor specific enthalpy/entropy changes according to the structural features of the target telomeric sequence and to dissect the binding process into distinct events. Interestingly, temperature effects turned out to be prominent both in terms of binding stoichiometry and ΔH/ΔS contributions, while the final G-quadruplex-metal complex architecture tended to merge for the examined sequences. These results underline the critical choice of experimental conditions and DNA sequence for practical use of thermodynamic data in the rational development of effective G-quadruplex binders.
PMCID: PMC3596309  PMID: 23516498
20.  Mechanistic studies on DNA damage by minor groove binding copper–phenanthroline conjugates 
Nucleic Acids Research  2005;33(16):5371-5379.
Copper–phenanthroline complexes oxidatively damage and cleave nucleic acids. Copper bis-phenanthroline and copper complexes of mono- and bis-phenanthroline conjugates are used as research tools for studying nucleic acid structure and binding interactions. The mechanism of DNA oxidation and cleavage by these complexes was examined using two copper–phenanthroline conjugates of the sequence-specific binding molecule, distamycin. The complexes contained either one or two phenanthroline units that were bonded to the DNA-binding domain through a linker via the 3-position of the copper ligand. A duplex containing independently generated 2-deoxyribonolactone facilitated kinetic analysis of DNA cleavage. Oxidation rate constants were highly dependent upon the ligand environment but rate constants describing elimination of the alkali-labile 2-deoxyribonolactone intermediate were not. Rate constants describing DNA cleavage induced by each molecule were 11–54 times larger than the respective oxidation rate constants. The experiments indicate that DNA cleavage resulting from β-elimination of 2-deoxyribonolactone by copper–phenanthroline complexes is a general mechanism utilized by this family of molecules. In addition, the experiments confirm that DNA damage mediated by mono- and bis-phenanthroline copper complexes proceeds through distinct species, albeit with similar outcomes.
PMCID: PMC1235636  PMID: 16186134
21.  DNA cleavage and binding selectivity of a heterodinuclear Pt–Cu(3-Clip-Phen) complex 
The synthesis and nuclease activity of a new bifunctional heterodinuclear platinum–copper complex are reported. The design of this ditopic coordination compound is based on the specific mode of action of each component, namely, cisplatin and Cu(3-Clip-Phen), where 3-Clip-Phen is 1-(1,10-phenanthrolin-3-yloxy)-3-(1,10-phenanthrolin-8-yloxy)propan-2-amine. Cisplatin is not only able to direct the Cu(3-Clip-Phen) part to the GG or AG site, but also acts as a kinetically inert DNA anchor. The nuclease activity of this complex has been investigated on supercoiled DNA. The dinuclear compound is not only more active than Cu(3-Clip-Phen), but is also capable of inducing direct double-strand breaks. The sequence selectivity of the mononuclear platinum complex has been investigated by primer extension experiments, which reveal that its interaction with DNA occurs at the same sites as for cisplatin. The Taq polymerase recognizes the resulting DNA damage as different from that for unmodified cisplatin. The sequence-selective cleavage has been investigated by high-resolution gel electrophoresis on a 36-bp DNA fragment. Sequence-selective cleavages are observed in the close proximity of the platinum sites for the strand exhibiting the preferential platinum binding sites. The platinum moiety also coordinates to the other DNA strand, most likely leading only to mono guanine or adenine adducts.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00775-008-0346-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC2359831  PMID: 18270754
Platinum; Copper; Heterodinuclear; DNA; Ditopic
22.  Fluoroalkyl and Alkyl Chains Have Similar Hydrophobicities in Binding to the “Hydrophobic Wall” of Carbonic Anhydrase 
Journal of the American Chemical Society  2011;133(35):14017-14026.
The hydrophobic effect—the free-energetically favorable association of non-polar solutes in water—makes a dominant contribution to binding of many systems of ligands and proteins. The objective of this study was to examine the hydrophobic effect in biomolecular recognition using two chemically different, but structurally similar hydrophobic groups—aliphatic hydrocarbons and aliphatic fluorocarbons—and to determine whether the hydrophobicity of the two groups could be distinguished by thermodynamic and biostructural analysis. This paper uses isothermal titration calorimetry (ITC) to examine the thermodynamics of binding of benzenesulfonamides substituted in the para position with alkyl and fluoroalkyl chains (H2NSO2C6H4-CONHCH2(CX2)nCX3, n = 0–4, X = H, F) to human carbonic anhydrase II (HCA II). Both alkyl and fluoroalkyl substituents contribute favorably to the enthalpy and the entropy of binding; these contributions increase as the length of chain of the hydrophobic substituent increases. Crystallography of the protein-ligand complexes indicates that the benzenesulfonamide groups of all ligands examined bind with similar geometry, that the tail groups associate with the hydrophobic wall of HCA II (which is made up of the side chains of residues Phe131, Val135, Pro202, and Leu204), and that the structure of the protein is indistinguishable for all but one of the complexes (the longest member of the fluoroalkyl series). Analysis of the thermodynamics of binding as a function of structure is compatible with the hypothesis that hydrophobic binding of both alkyl and fluoroalkyl chains to hydrophobic surface of carbonic anhydrase is due primarily to the release of non-optimally hydrogen-bonded water molecules that hydrate the binding cavity (including the hydrophobic wall) of HCA II and to the release of water molecules that surround the hydrophobic chain of the ligands. This study defines the balance of enthalpic and entropic contributions to the hydrophobic effect in this representative system of protein and ligand: hydrophobic interactions, here, seem to comprise approximately equal contributions from enthalpy (plausibly from strengthening networks among molecules of water hydrogen bonds) and entropy (from release of water from configurationally restricted positions).
PMCID: PMC3171206  PMID: 21790183
23.  Unprocessed Viral DNA Could Be the Primary Target of the HIV-1 Integrase Inhibitor Raltegravir 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(7):e40223.
Integration of HIV DNA into host chromosome requires a 3′-processing (3′-P) and a strand transfer (ST) reactions catalyzed by virus integrase (IN). Raltegravir (RAL), commonly used in AIDS therapy, belongs to the family of IN ST inhibitors (INSTIs) acting on IN-viral DNA complexes (intasomes). However, studies show that RAL fails to bind IN alone, but nothing has been reported on the behaviour of RAL toward free viral DNA. Here, we assessed whether free viral DNA could be a primary target for RAL, assuming that the DNA molecule is a receptor for a huge number of pharmacological agents. Optical spectroscopy, molecular dynamics and free energy calculations, showed that RAL is a tight binder of both processed and unprocessed LTR (long terminal repeat) ends. Complex formation involved mainly van der Waals forces and was enthalpy driven. Dissociation constants (Kds) revealed that RAL affinity for unbound LTRs was stronger than for bound LTRs. Moreover, Kd value for binding of RAL to LTRs and IC50 value (half concentration for inhibition) were in same range, suggesting that RAL binding to DNA and ST inhibition are correlated events. Accommodation of RAL into terminal base-pairs of unprocessed LTR is facilitated by an extensive end fraying that lowers the RAL binding energy barrier. The RAL binding entails a weak damping of fraying and correlatively of 3′-P inhibition. Noteworthy, present calculated RAL structures bound to free viral DNA resemble those found in RAL-intasome crystals, especially concerning the contacts between the fluorobenzyl group and the conserved 5′C4pA33′ step. We propose that RAL inhibits IN, in binding first unprocessed DNA. Similarly to anticancer drug poisons acting on topoisomerases, its interaction with DNA does not alter the cut, but blocks the subsequent joining reaction. We also speculate that INSTIs having viral DNA rather IN as main target could induce less resistance.
PMCID: PMC3388078  PMID: 22768342
24.  Interaction of Pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD) Ligands with Parallel Intermolecular G-Quadruplex Complex Using Spectroscopy and ESI-MS 
PLoS ONE  2012;7(4):e35920.
Studies on ligand interaction with quadruplex DNA, and their role in stabilizing the complex at concentration prevailing under physiological condition, has attained high interest. Electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) and spectroscopic studies in solution were used to evaluate the interaction of PBD and TMPyP4 ligands, stoichiometry and selectivity to G-quadruplex DNA. Two synthetic ligands from PBD family, namely pyrene-linked pyrrolo[2,1-c][1,4]benzodiazepine hybrid (PBD1), mixed imine-amide pyrrolobenzodiazepine dimer (PBD2) and 5,10,15,20-tetrakis(N-methyl-4-pyridyl)porphyrin (TMPyP4) were studied. G-rich single-stranded oligonucleotide d(5′GGGGTTGGGG3′) designated as d(T2G8), from the telomeric region of Tetrahymena Glaucoma, was considered for the interaction with ligands. ESI-MS and spectroscopic methods viz., circular dichroism (CD), UV-Visible, and fluorescence were employed to investigate the G-quadruplex structures formed by d(T2G8) sequence and its interaction with PBD and TMPyP4 ligands. From ESI-MS spectra, it is evident that the majority of quadruplexes exist as d(T2G8)2 and d(T2G8)4 forms possessing two to ten cations in the centre, thereby stabilizing the complex. CD band of PBD1 and PBD2 showed hypo and hyperchromicity, on interaction with quadruplex DNA, indicating unfolding and stabilization of quadruplex DNA complex, respectively. UV-Visible and fluorescence experiments suggest that PBD1 bind externally where as PBD2 intercalate moderately and bind externally to G-quadruplex DNA. Further, melting experiments using SYBR Green indicate that PBD1 unfolds and PBD2 stabilizes the G-quadruplex complex. ITC experiments using d(T2G8) quadruplex with PBD ligands reveal that PBD1 and PBD2 prefer external/loop binding and external/intercalative binding to quadruplex DNA, respectively. From experimental results it is clear that the interaction of PBD2 and TMPyP4 impart higher stability to the quadruplex complex.
PMCID: PMC3338766  PMID: 22558271
25.  Synthesis, Characterization, DNA Interaction, and Antitumor Activities of La (III) Complex with Schiff Base Ligand Derived from Kaempferol and Diethylenetriamine 
A novel La (III) complex, [LaL(H2O)3]NO3·3H2O, with Schiff base ligand L derived from kaempferol and diethylenetriamine, has been synthesized and characterized by elemental analysis, IR, UV-visible, 1H NMR, thermogravimetric analysis, and molar conductance measurements. The fluorescence spectra, circular dichroism spectra, and viscosity measurements and gel electrophoresis experiments indicated that the ligand L and La (III) complex could bind to CT-DNA presumably via intercalative mode and the La (III) complex showed a stronger ability to bind and cleave DNA than the ligand L alone. The binding constants (Kb) were evaluated from fluorescence data and the values ranged from 0.454 to 0.659 × 105 L mol−1 and 1.71 to 17.3 × 105 L mol−1 for the ligand L and La (III) complex, respectively, in the temperature range of 298–310 K. It was also found that the fluorescence quenching mechanism of EB-DNA by ligand L and La (III) complex was a static quenching process. In comparison to free ligand L, La (III) complex exhibited enhanced cytotoxic activities against tested tumor cell lines HL-60 and HepG-2, which may correlate with the enhanced DNA binding and cleaving abilities of the La (III) complex.
PMCID: PMC4209760  PMID: 25371657

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