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.
A new Pt(II) complex, [Pt(DIP)(LL)](NO3)2 (in which DIP is 4,7-diphenyl-1,10-phenanthroline and LL is the aliphatic dinitrogen ligand, N,N-dimethyl-trimethylenediamine), was synthesized and characterized using different physico-chemical methods. The interaction of this complex with calf thymus DNA (CT-DNA) was investigated by absorption, emission, circular dichroism (CD), and viscosity measurements.
The complex binds to CT-DNA in an intercalative mode. The calculated binding constant, Kb, was 6.6 × 104 M−1. The enthalpy and entropy changes of the reaction between the complex and CT-DNA showed that the van der Waals interactions and hydrogen bonds are the main forces in the interaction with CT-DNA. In addition, CD study showed that phenanthroline ligand insert between the base pair stack of double helical structure of DNA. It is remarkable that this complex has the ability to cleave the supercoiled plasmid.
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.
The interaction of ethidium bromide, a DNA intercalating drug, and bis( methidium )spermine, a DNA bis-intercalating compound, with the left-handed Z form of poly(dG-dC) has been studied in 4.4 M NaCl. Spectrophotometric analysis using absorption, fluorescence and circular dichroism indicates that the complex formed between ethidium and Z DNA resembles very closely that formed with B DNA. This suggests that ethidium binds to Z DNA by intercalation. 31P NMR spectra are presented showing both the conversion of the Z form to the B form with increasing amounts of drug and the typical Z form spectrum at low binding densities. Data are also presented which show that the bifunctional intercalator bis( methidium )spermine binds to Z DNA in a manner similar to its binding to B DNA, i.e., by bis-intercalation. These results are important for our understanding the behavior of Z DNA and its biological significance.
Ethidium bromide intercalation strongly effects the circular dichroism spectrum of DNA in the region of 230-300 mu, in a complex manner. In this report we present a study that quantitizes the relationships of the circular dichroism spectrum in the region of 230-300 mu and the ethidium bromide induced optical activity centered around 308 mu. We present evidence of two hidden cooperative bands that are probably the negative counterparts of the 308 mu band and 330 mu shoulder positive cooperative bands. The hidden band is quantitatively characterized. We confirm that the direct effect of ethidium bromide on the DNA spectrum is simply linearly proportional to the amount of intercalated dye. We also observe that the ethidium bromide enters freely when there is a molecule intercalated for every 3 sites, but that the intercalation is more difficult when the molecule intercalates at every second site.
A novel microwave-assisted synthetic method has been used to synthesise a series of mixed ligand ruthenium(ii) compounds containing diimine as well as bidentate thiosemicarbazone ligands. The compounds contain the diimine 1,10-phenanthroline (phen) or 2,2′-bipyridine (bpy) and the thiosemicarbazone is derived from 9-anthraldehyde. Based on elemental analyses and spectroscopic data, the compounds are best formulated as [(phen)2Ru(thiosemicarbazone)](PF6)2 and [(phen)2Ru(thiosemicarbazone)](PF6)2 where thiosemicarbazone = 9-anthraldehydethiosemicarbazone, 9-anthraldehyde-N(4)-methylthiosemicarbazone, and 9-anthraldehyde-N(4)-ethylthiosemicarbazone. Fluorescence competition studies with ethidium bromide, along with viscometric measurements suggests that the complexes bind calf thymus DNA (CTDNA) relatively strongly via an intercalative mode possibly involving the aromatic rings of the diimine ligands. The complexes show good cytotoxic profiles against MCF-7 and MDA-MB-231 (breast adenocarcinoma) as well as HCT 116 and HT-29 (colorectal carcinoma) cell lines.
The interactions of two representative mixed-sequence (one with an AT-stretch) PNA-DNA duplexes (10 or 15 base-pairs) and a PNA2/DNA triplex with the DNA binding reagents distamycin A, 4',6-diamidino-2-phenylindole (DAPI), ethidium bromide, 8-methoxy-psoralen and the delta and lambda enantiomers of Ru(phen)2-dppz2+ have been investigated using optical spectroscopic methods. The behaviour of these reagents versus two PNA-PNA duplexes has also been investigated. With triple helical poly(dA)/(H-T10-Lys-NH2)2 no significant intercalative binding was detected for any of the DNA intercalators, whereas DAPI, a DNA minor groove binder, was found to exhibit a circular dichroism with a positive sign and amplitude consistent with minor groove binding. Similarly, a PNA-DNA duplex containing a central AATA motif, a typical minor groove binding site for the DNA minor groove binders distamycin A and DAPI, showed binding for both of these drugs, though with strongly reduced affinity. No important interactions were found for any of the ligands with a PNA-DNA duplex consisting of a ten base-pair mixed purine-pyrimidine sequence with only two AT base-pairs in the centre. Nor did any of the ligands show any detectable binding to the PNA-PNA duplexes (one containing an AATT motif). Various PNA derivatives with extentions of the backbone, believed to increase the flexibility of the duplex to opening of an intercalation slot, were tested for intercalation of ethidium bromide or 8-methoxypsoralen into the mixed sequence PNA-DNA duplex, however, without any observation of improved binding. The importance of the ionic contribution of the deoxyribose phosphate backbone, versus interactions with the nucleobases, for drug binding to DNA is discussed in the light of these findings.
We report, based on semi-empirical calculations, that Zn2+ binds duplex DNA containing consecutive FdU–dA base pairs in the major groove with distorted trigonal bipyramidal geometry. In this previously uncharacterized binding motif, O4 and F5 on consecutive FdU are axial ligands while three water molecules complete the coordination sphere. NMR spectroscopy confirmed Zn2+ complexation occurred with maintenance of base pairing while a slight hypsochromic shift in circular dichroism (CD) spectra indicated moderate structural distortion relative to B-form DNA. Zn2+ complexation inhibited ethidium bromide (EtBr) intercalation and stabilized FdU-substituted duplex DNA (ΔTm > 15°C). Mg2+ neither inhibited EtBr complexation nor had as strong of a stabilizing effect. DNA sequences that did not contain consecutive FdU were not stabilized by Zn2+. A lipofectamine preparation of the Zn2+–DNA complex displayed enhanced cytotoxicity toward prostate cancer cells relative to the individual components prepared as lipofectamine complexes indicating the potential utility of Zn2+–DNA complexes for cancer treatment.
The two water-soluble designed platinum(II) complex, [Pt(Oct-dtc)(bpy)]NO3 (Oct-dtc = Octyldithiocarbamate and bpy = 2,2′
-bipyridine) and palladium(II) complex, [Pd(Oct-dtc)(bpy)]NO3, have been synthesized and characterized by elemental analyses, molar conductivity measurements, IR, 1H NMR, and electronic spectra studies. Studies of antitumor activity of these complexes against human cell tumor lines (K562) have been carried out. They show Ic50 values lower than that of cisplatin. The complexes have been investigated for their interaction with calf thymus DNA (CT-DNA) by utilizing the electronic absorption spectroscopy, fluorescence spectra, and ethidium bromide displacement and gel filtration techniques. Both of these water-soluble complexes bound cooperatively and intercalatively to the CT-DNA at very low concentrations. Several binding and thermodynamic parameters are also described.
Circular dichroism in the 300-360 nm region and fluorescence induced by intercaltating binding of ethidum bromide to both DNA and RNA components were studied in isolated HeLa nucleoli. Both DNA and RNA compoents contribute to the induced dichroic elliticity. Digestion of nucleoli by RNase or DNase shows that most of the induced ellipticity comes from the DNA component. In nucleoli with an RNA/DNA = 0.8/1.0 the RNA component gives only 20% of the total ellipticity when measured at an ethidium bromide/DNA = 0.25. Spectro-fluorometric titration shows that ethidium bromide intercalates mostly into DNA in nucleoli. Both circular dichroism and fluorescence studies indicate that both DNA and RNA components in isolated nucleoli are less accessible to intercalating binding by ethidium bromide when compared to purified nucleolar DNA, DNA in chromatin or purified ribosomal RNA. Circular dichroic measurements of intercalating binding of ethidium bromide to to nucleoli may be used to study changes in nucleoli under different physiological or pathological conditions.
The interaction of calf thymus DNA (ct-DNA) with a novel synthesized pyrazolo[1,5-a]indole compound 1-methyl-7H-indeno[1,2-b]quinolinium-7-(4-dimethylamino) benzylidene triflate (MIDBT) was extensively studied by various spectroscopic techniques, viscosity measurements, and gel electrophoresis. The UV-visible observation implied that the compound interacted with ct-DNA by two binding modes, intercalating into the DNA base pairs and attaching to the helix exterior of DNA. The results of the fluorescent quenching and viscosity measurements showed that MIDBT could intercalate into DNA base pairs deeply in a classical intercalative mode. Circular dichroism results showed that the binding of MIDBT shifted ct-DNA conformation from B to A at low concentrations. In the gel electrophoresis, the compound was found to promote the cleavage of plasmid pBR 322 DNA effectively. Furthermore, cytotoxic studies of this compound against eleven selected tumor cell lines have been done. The values of 50% cytotoxic concentration (IC50) were in the range of 1.09–18.84 μM, exhibiting the potent cytotoxic properties.
The interaction of the intercalating dye ethidium bromide with several native and synthetic polydeoxyribonucleic acids has been studied by means of circular dichroic spectra. The CD of DNA-ethidium bromide complexes in the 290-360 nm region is characterized, especially at high salt and at high ethylene glycol content, by positive and negative bands near 308 nm and 295 nm, respectively. These dye associated CD bands are unaffected by the addition of LiCl or ethylene glycol, suggesting that the relative conformation of dye and neighboring base pairs does not change when the conformation of the rest of the DNA changes.
RT29 is a dicationic diamidine derivative that does not obey the classical “rules” for shape and functional group placement that are expected to result in strong binding and specific recognition of the DNA minor groove. The compound contains a benzimidazole-diphenyl ether core that is flanked by the amidine cations. The diphenyl ether is highly twisted and gives the entire compound too much curvature to fit well to the shape of the minor groove. DNaseI footprinting, fluorescence intercalator displacement studies and circular dichroism spectra, however, indicate that the compound is an AT specific minor groove binding agent. Even more surprisingly, quantitative biosensor-surface plasmon resonance and isothermal titration calorimetric results indicate that the compound binds with exceptional strength to certain AT sequences in DNA with a large negative enthalpy of binding. Crystallographic results for the DNA complex of RT29 compared to calculated results for the free compound show that the compound undergoes significant conformational changes to enhance its minor groove interactions. In addition, a water molecule is incorporated directly into the complex to complete the compound-DNA interface and it forms an essential link between the compound and base pair edges at the floor of the minor groove. The calculated ΔCp value for complex formation is substantially less than the experimentally observed value in support of water being an intrinsic part of the complex with a major contribution to the ΔCp value. Both the induced fit conformational changes of the compound and the bound water are essential for strong binding to DNA by RT29.
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.
Evidence was found that the inhibitory action of Cu(DMP)2NO3, the copper(I) complex of 2,9-dimethyl-1,10-phenanthroline (DMP), on Mycoplasma gallisepticum is a consequence of the ultimate toxicity of copper, and not that of the ligand, DMP. From uptake studies with radiolabeled 67Cu and [14C]DMP, we concluded that significantly more copper than DMP is bound to the mycoplasmal cell. It appeared that dissociation of Cu(DMP)2+ occurred shortly after interaction with the cell membrane. Copper was transported across the cytoplasmic membrane. A strong dependence of copper uptake on the incubation medium was observed in the absence of DMP. The main function of the ligand DMP appeared to be as a vehicle for the transport of copper from nontoxic copper-medium complexes to membrane-buried cellular ligands.
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.
Binding of 5,10,15,20-tetrakis (N-methylpyridinium-4-yl)porphyrin (H2TMPyP4+) and its zinc complex (ZnTMPyP4+) to DNA is demonstrated by their coelectrophoresis and by absorption and fluorescence spectroscopic methods. Topoisomerisation of pBR322 DNA shows that H2TMPyP4+ unwinds DNA as efficiently as ethidium bromide showing that it intercalates at many sites. ZnTMPyP4+ may cause limited unwinding. Marked changes in the fluorescence spectra of the porphyrins are found in the presence of DNA. The fluorescence intensity of either H2TMPyP4+ or ZnTMPyP4+ is enhanced in the presence of poly (d(A-T)), whereas in the presence of poly (d(G-C] the fluorescence intensity of ZnTMPyP4+ is only slightly affected and that of H2TMPyP4+ markedly reduced. Both the porphyrins photosensitize the cleavage of DNA in aerated solution upon visible light irradiation.
dispersive X-ray absorption spectroscopy (ED-XAS), in which
the whole XAS spectrum is acquired simultaneously, has been applied
to reduce the real-time for acquisition of spectra of photoinduced
excited states by using a germanium microstrip detector gated around
one X-ray bunch of the ESRF (100 ps). Cu K-edge XAS was used to investigate
the MLCT states of [Cu(dmp)2]+ (dmp =2,9-dimethyl-1,10-phenanthroline)
and [Cu(dbtmp)2]+ (dbtmp =2,9-di-n-butyl-3,4,7,8-tetramethyl-1,10-phenanthroline) with the excited
states created by excitation at 450 nm (10 Hz). The decay of the longer
lived complex with bulky ligands, was monitored for up to 100 ns.
DFT calculations of the longer lived MLCT excited state of [Cu(dbp)2]+ (dbp =2,9-di-n-butyl-1,10-phenanthroline)
with the bulkier diimine ligands, indicated that the excited state
behaves as a Jahn–Teller distorted Cu(II) site, with the interligand
dihedral angle changing from 83 to 60° as the tetrahedral coordination
geometry flattens and a reduction in the Cu–N distance of 0.03
The complex between lac repressor headpiece and short rodlike DNA fragments containing the lac operator sequence is characterised by measurements of the rotation diffusion. Using the method of electric dichroism we measure the rotation relaxation and determine changes in the length of the DNA upon ligand binding with high accuracy. According to these measurements any change in the length of the operator DNA upon binding of the first two headpiece molecules remains below 1A; the electric dichroism also remains virtually unchanged. At high degrees of (unspecific) binding we observe an increase in the rotation relaxation time, which is attributed to an increase of the apparent mean radius of the complex. As a control of our procedure for the determination of length changes we use the intercalation of ethidium bromide and arrive at an increase of the DNA length per bound ethidium of 3.2A (at 3.4A rise per base pair). The results obtained for the headpiece operator complex are not consistent with models assuming large changes of the DNA structure or intercalation of tyrosine residues.
•DNA intercalators ethidium bromide and propidium iodide also bind to core histones.•These ligands release DNA from the chromatosome.•These ligands cause chromatin compaction.•These ligands alter the acetylation status of histones H3 and H4.
Eukaryotic DNA is compacted in the form of chromatin, in a complex with histones and other non-histone proteins. The intimate association of DNA and histones in chromatin raises the possibility that DNA-interactive small molecules may bind to chromatin-associated proteins such as histones. Employing biophysical and biochemical techniques we have characterized the interaction of a classical intercalator, ethidium bromide (EB) and its structural analogue propidium iodide (PI) with hierarchical genomic components: long chromatin, chromatosome, core octamer and chromosomal DNA. Our studies show that EB and PI affect both chromatin structure and function, inducing chromatin compaction and disruption of the integrity of the chromatosome. Calorimetric studies and fluorescence measurements of the ligands demonstrated and characterized the association of these ligands with core histones and the intact octamer in absence of DNA. The ligands affect acetylation of histone H3 at lysine 9 and acetylation of histone H4 at lysine 5 and lysine 8 ex vivo. PI alters the post-translational modifications to a greater extent than EB. This is the first report showing the dual binding (chromosomal DNA and core histones) property of a classical intercalator, EB, and its longer analogue, PI, in the context of chromatin.
EB, ethidium bromide; PI, propidium iodide; ITC, isothermal titration calorimetry; DLS, dynamic light scattering; HMG, high mobility group; Oct, octamer; HAT, histone acetyl transferase; MTT, (3-(4-5 dimethylthiozol-2-yl) 2-5diphenyl-tetrazolium bromide); Chromatin compaction; Histone and DNA binding; DNA release; Histone acetylation
A new copper(II) complex with formulae of [Cu(buobb)2](pic)2, where buobb stands for the ligand of 1,3-bis(1- butylbenzimidazol-2-yl)-2-oxopropane and pic represents 2,4,6-trinitrophenol, has been synthesized and characterized by elemental analyses, molar conductivity, IR, UV-Vis spectra measurements, and cyclic voltammetry. The crystal structure of the copper(II) complex has been determined by X-ray single-crystal diffraction. The coordination environment around each copper(II) atom can be described as a distorted octahedral geometry. The π-π stacking interactions link the copper(II) complex into a 1D infinite network. The interactions of the ligand and the copper(II) complex with calf thymus DNA (CT-DNA) are investigated by using electronic absorption titration, ethidium bromide-DNA displacement experiments, and viscosity measurements. Additionally, the copper(II) complex's antioxidant properties have been investigated in vitro.
For the first time, the interaction between a series of small molecules and the TAR RNA of HIV-1 has been investigated by electric linear dichroism (ELD). The compounds tested include the DNA intercalating drugs proflavine and ethidium bromide and an amsacrine-4-carboxamide DNA-threading intercalator as well as the AT-specific DNA minor groove binders netropsin, Hoechst 33258, berenil and DAPI. In all cases except for netropsin, negative reduced dichroism signals were measured in the drug absorption band. In agreement with previous studies, the results indicate that both classical and threading intercalation can occur with the TAR RNA. The ELD data show that the mode of binding of the drugs Hoechst 33258, berenil and DAPI to the TAR RNA is similar to their binding mode in GC-rich regions of DNA and likely involves intercalation into the A-form TAR RNA helix. The wide and shallow minor groove of the TAR RNA is apparently not accessible to DNA minor groove binding drugs such as netropsin. The ELD technique appears uniquely valuable as a means of investigating the interaction of drugs with the TAR RNA.
Binuclear rhodium(II) complexes [Rh2Cl2(μ-OOCR)2(N-N)2], [Rh2(μ-OOCR)2(N-N)2(H2O)2](RCOO)2 and [Rh2Cl2(μ-OOCCH3)(terpy)2](H3O)Cl2.9H2O (R = H, Me, Bun, ph, PhCHOH; N-N = 2,2′-bipyridine
(bpy), 1,10-phenanthroline (phen), 2,9-dimethyl-1,10-phenanthroline (dmp) and 6,7-dimethyl-2,3-
di(2-pyridyl)quinoxaline (dmpq); terpy 2,2′:6′,2′′-terpyridine) have been synthesized and their
structure and properties have been studied by electronic, IR and 1H NMR spectroscopy.
Antibacterial activity of these complexes against Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli has
been investigated. The most active antibacterial agents against S. aureus were
[Rh2(OOCPh)2(phen)2(H2O)2]2+, [Rh2(OOCPh)2(dmpq)2(H2O)2]2+, [Rh2(OOCBu)2(phen)2(H2O)2]2+ and [Rh2-(OOCBu)2(bpy)2(H2O)2]2+ which were considerably more active than the appropriate
nitrogen ligands. The complexes show rather low activity against E. coli.
The complex [ReOCl3pq] (1) (where pq = 2-(2′pyridyl)quinoxaline) has been synthesized and fully characterized by UV-Vis, FTIR, 1 and 2D NMR, and cyclic voltammetry (CV). The DNA-binding properties of the complex 1 as well as of the compounds [ReOCl3bpy] (2), [ReOCl3phen] (3), and pq (4) were investigated by UV-spectrophotometric (melting curves), CV (cyclic voltammetry), and viscosity measurements. Experimental data suggest that complex 1 intercalates into the DNA base pairs. Upon irradiation, complex 1 was found to promote the cleavage of plasmid pBR 322 DNA from supercoiled form I to nicked form II. The mechanism of the DNA cleavage by complex 1 was also investigated.
The binding of three ethidium derivatives, ethidium (1), des-3-amino ethidium (2) and des-8-amino ethidium (3), to short (approximately 35 base pairs), random sequence DNA has been investigated using 300 MHz proton NMR. At 35 degrees C all three drugs cause upfield shifts of the resonances from the exchangeable imino protons, as expected for intercalative binding to DNA. However, the lineshapes vary significantly with the nature of the drug. The temperature dependence of the spectra of the DNA shows that differences between spectra observed at 35 degrees C with ethidium and with des-3-amino ethidium are primarily due to differences in the drug binding kinetics rather than to differences in mode of binding. Removal of the amino group at position 3, but not at position 8, on the parent ethidium shortens the lifetime of the intercalative state; this implies that the 3-NH2 group is involved in stabilization of the drug-DNA complex. Analysis of the drug-DNA spectra indicates that there is a preference for binding of the drugs adjacent to G.C base pairs.