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Sequence Specific Complexation of B DNA at Sites Containing G,C Base Pairs


Wade, Warren Stanfield (1989) Sequence Specific Complexation of B DNA at Sites Containing G,C Base Pairs. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/9kdn-0y27.


A series of eight related analogs of distamycin A has been synthesized. Footprinting and affinity cleaving reveal that only two of the analogs, pyridine-2- car box amide-netropsin (2-Py N) and 1-methylimidazole-2-carboxamide-netrops in (2-ImN), bind to DNA with a specificity different from that of the parent compound. A new class of sites, represented by a TGACT sequence, is a strong site for 2-PyN binding, and the major recognition site for 2-ImN on DNA. Both compounds recognize the G•C bp specifically, although A's and T's in the site may be interchanged without penalty. Additional A•T bp outside the binding site increase the binding affinity. The compounds bind in the minor groove of the DNA sequence, but protect both grooves from dimethylsulfate. The binding evidence suggests that 2-PyN or 2-ImN binding induces a DNA conformational change.

In order to understand this sequence specific complexation better, the Ackers quantitative footprinting method for measuring individual site affinity constants has been extended to small molecules. MPE•Fe(II) cleavage reactions over a 10⁵ range of free ligand concentrations are analyzed by gel electrophoresis. The decrease in cleavage is calculated by densitometry of a gel autoradiogram. The apparent fraction of DNA bound is then calculated from the amount of cleavage protection. The data is fitted to a theoretical curve using non-linear least squares techniques. Affinity constants at four individual sites are determined simultaneously. The distamycin A analog binds solely at A•T rich sites. Affinities range from 10⁶-10⁷ M⁻¹ The data for parent compound D fit closely to a monomeric binding curve. 2-PyN binds both A•T sites and the TGTCA site with an apparent affinity constant of 10⁵ M⁻¹. 2-ImN binds A•T sites with affinities less than 5 x 10⁴ M⁻¹. The affinity of 2-ImN for the TGTCA site does not change significantly from the 2-PyN value. At the TGTCA site, the experimental data fit a dimeric binding curve better than a monomeric curve. Both 2-PyN and 2-ImN have substantially lower DNA affinities than closely related compounds.

In order to probe the requirements of this new binding site, fourteen other derivatives have been synthesized and tested. All compounds that recognize the TGTCA site have a heterocyclic aromatic nitrogen ortho to the N or C-terminal amide of the netropsin subunit. Specificity is strongly affected by the overall length of the small molecule. Only compounds that consist of at least three aromatic rings linked by amides exhibit TGTCA site binding. Specificity is only weakly altered by substitution on the pyridine ring, which correlates best with steric factors. A model is proposed for TGTCA site binding that has as its key feature hydrogen bonding to both G's by the small molecule. The specificity is determined by the sequence dependence of the distance between G's.

One derivative of 2-PyN exhibits pH dependent sequence specificity. At low pH, 4-dimethylaminopyridine-2-carboxamide-netropsin binds tightly to A•T sites. At high pH, 4-Me₂NPyN binds most tightly to the TGTCA site. In aqueous solution, this compound protonates at the pyridine nitrogen at pH 6. Thus presence of the protonated form correlates with A•T specificity.

The binding site of a class of eukaryotic transcriptional activators typified by yeast protein GCN4 and the mammalian oncogene jun contains a strong 2-ImN binding site. Specificity requirements for the protein and small molecule are similar. GCN4 and 2-lmN bind simultaneously to the same binding site. GCN4 alters the cleavage pattern of 2-ImN-EDTA derivative at only one of its binding sites. The details of the interaction suggest that GCN4 alters the conformation of an AAAAAAA sequence adjacent to its binding site. The presence of a yeast counterpart to jun partially blocks 2-lmN binding. The differences do not appear to be caused by direct interactions between 2-lmN and the proteins, but by induced conformational changes in the DNA protein complex. It is likely that the observed differences in complexation are involved in the varying sequence specificity of these proteins.

Item Type:Thesis (Dissertation (Ph.D.))
Subject Keywords:Chemistry
Degree Grantor:California Institute of Technology
Division:Chemistry and Chemical Engineering
Major Option:Chemistry
Thesis Availability:Public (worldwide access)
Research Advisor(s):
  • Dervan, Peter B.
Thesis Committee:
  • Grubbs, Robert H. (chair)
  • Dervan, Peter B.
  • Richards, John H.
  • Myers, Andrew G.
Defense Date:2 February 1989
Funding AgencyGrant Number
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:10242013-102113951
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8008
Deposited By: Dan Anguka
Deposited On:24 Oct 2013 20:18
Last Modified:07 Jan 2022 01:11

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