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The Application of Metallointercalators in Recognition of and Charge Transport in Nucleic Acids


Odom, Duncan T. (2001) The Application of Metallointercalators in Recognition of and Charge Transport in Nucleic Acids. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/yz1f-w961.


Metal complexes that utilize the 9,10-phenanthrene quinone diimine (phi) moiety bind to DNA through the major groove. These metallointercalators can recognize DNA sites and perform reactions on DNA as a substrate. The site-specific metallointercalator Λ-1-Rh(MGP)_2phi^(5+) competitively disrupts the major groove binding of a transcription factor, yAP-1, from an oligonucleotide that contains a common binding site. The demonstration that metal complexes can prevent transcription factor binding to DNA site-specifically is an important step in using metallointercalators as therapeutics.

The distinctive photochemistry of metallointercalators can also be applied to promote long range charge transport in DNA. Experiments using duplexes with regions 4 to 10 nucleotides long containing strictly adenine and thymine sequences of varying order showed that radical migration is more dependent on the sequence of bases, and less dependent on the distance between the guanine doublets. This result suggests that mechanistic proposals of long range charge transport must involve all the bases.

RNA/DNA hybrids show charge migration to guanines from a remote site, thus demonstrating that nucleic acid stacking other than B-form can serve as a radical bridge. Double crossover DNA assemblies also provide a medium for charge transport at distances up to 100 Å from the site of radical introduction by a tethered metal complex. This radical migration was found to be robust to mismatches, and limited to individual, electronically distinct base stacks. In single DNA crossover assemblies, which have considerably greater flexibility, charge migration proceeds to both base stacks due to conformational isomers not present in the rigid and tightly annealed double crossovers.

Finally, a rapid, efficient, gel-based technique was developed to investigate thymine dimer repair. Two oligonucleotides, one radioactively labeled, are photoligated via the bases of a thymine-thymine interface; reversal of this ligation is easily visualized by gel electrophoresis. This assay was used to show that the repair of thymine dimers from a distance through DNA charge transport can be accomplished with different photooxidants.

Thus, nucleic acids that support long range charge transport have been shown to include A-track DNA, RNA/DNA hybrids, and single and double crossovers, and a method for thymine dimer repair detection using charge transport was developed. These observations underscore and extend the remarkable finding that DNA can serve a medium for charge transport via the heteroaromatic base stack.

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):
  • Barton, Jacqueline K.
Thesis Committee:
  • Gray, Harry B. (chair)
  • Barton, Jacqueline K.
  • Parker, Carl Stevens
  • Rees, Douglas C.
Defense Date:16 January 2001
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:03212014-095851500
Persistent URL:
Odom, Duncan T.0000-0001-6201-5599
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8157
Deposited On:21 Mar 2014 17:57
Last Modified:08 Nov 2023 00:14

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