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Structure-, stereochemistry-, and metal-regulated DNA binding/cleaving molecules


Griffin, John Hampton (1990) Structure-, stereochemistry-, and metal-regulated DNA binding/cleaving molecules. Dissertation (Ph.D.), California Institute of Technology. doi:10.7907/fnf1-yc64.


In the cell, the binding of proteins to specific sequences of double helical DNA is essential for controlling the processes of protein synthesis (at the level of DNA transcription) and cell proliferation (at the level of DNA replication). In the laboratory, the sequence-specific DNA binding/cleaving properties of restriction endonuclease enzymes (secreted by microorganisms to protect them from foreign DNA molecules) have helped to fuel a revolution in molecular biology. The strength and specificity of a protein:DNA interaction depend upon structural features inherent to the protein and DNA sequences, but it is now appreciated that these features (and therefore protein:DNA complexation) may be altered (regulated) by other protein:DNA complexes, or by environmental factors such as temperature or the presence of specific organic molecules or inorganic ions. It is also now appreciated that molecules much smaller than proteins (including antibiotics of molecular weight less than 2000 and oligonucleotides) can bind to double-helical DNA in sequence-specific fashion. Elucidation of structural motifs and microscopic interactions responsible for the specific molecular recognition of DNA leads to greater understanding of natural processes and provides a basis for the design of novel sequence-specific DNA binding molecules. This thesis describes the synthesis and DNA binding/cleaving characteristics of molecules designed to probe structural, stereochemical, and environmental factors that regulate sequence-specific DNA recognition.

Chapter One introduces the DNA minor groove binding antibiotics Netropsin and Distamycin A, which are di- and tri(N-methylpyrrolecarboxamide) peptides, respectively. The method of DNA affinity cleaving, which has been employed to determine DNA binding properties of designed synthetic molecules is described. The design and synthesis of a series of Netropsin dimers linked in tail-to-tail fashion (by oxalic, malonic, succinic, or fumaric acid), or in head-to-tail fashion (by glycine, β-alanine, and γ-aminobutanoic acid (Gaba)) are presented. These Bis(Netropsin)s were appended with the iron-chelating functionality EDTA in order to make use of the technique of DNA affinity cleaving. Bis(Netropsin)-EDTA compounds are analogs of penta(N-methylpyrrolecarboxamide)-EDTA (P5E), which may be considered a head-to-tail Netropsin dimer linked by Nmethylpyrrolecarboxamide. Low- and high-resolution analysis of pBR322 DNA affinity cleaving by the iron complexes of these molecules indicated that small changes in the length and nature of the linker had significant effects on DNA binding/cleaving efficiency (a measure of DNA binding affinity). DNA binding/cleaving efficiency was found to decrease with changes in the linker in the order β-alanine > succinamide > fumaramide > N-methylpyrrolecarboxamide > malonamide >glycine, γ-aminobutanamide > oxalamide. In general, the Bis(Netropsin)-EDTA:Fe compounds retained the specificity for seven contiguous A:T base pairs characteristic of P5E:Fe binding. However, Bis(Netropsin)Oxalamide- EDTA:Fe exhibited decreased specificity for A:T base pairs, and Bis(Netropsin)-Gaba-EDT A:Fe exhibited some DNA binding sites of less than seven base pairs. Bis(Netropsin)s linked with diacids have C2-symmmetrical DNA binding subunits and exhibited little DNA binding orientation preference. Bis(Netropsin)s linked with amino acids lack C2-symmetrical DNA binding subunits and exhibited higher orientation preferences. A model for the high DNA binding orientation preferences observed with head-to-tail DNA minor groove binding molecules is presented.

Chapter Two describes the design, synthesis, and DNA binding properties of a series of chiral molecules: Bis(Netropsin)-EDTA compounds with linkers derived from (R,R)-, (S,S)-, and (RS,SR)-tartaric acids, (R,R)-, (S,S)-, and (RS,SR)-tartaric acid acetonides, (R)- and (S)-malic acids, N ,N-dimethylaminoaspartic acid, and (R)- and (S)-alanine, as well as three constitutional isomers in which an N-methylpyrrolecarboxamide (P1) subunit and a tri(N-methylpyrrolecarboxamide)-EDTA (P3-EDTA) subunit were linked by succinic acid, (R ,R)-, and (S ,S)-tartaric acids. DNA binding/cleaving efficiencies among this series of molecules and the Bis(Netropsin)s described in Chapter One were found to decrease with changes in the linker in the order β-alanine > succinamide > P1-succinamide-P3 > fumaramide > (S)-malicamide > N-methylpyrrolecarboxamide > (R)-malicamide > malonamide > N ,N-dimethylaminoaspanamide > glycine = Gaba = (S,S)-tartaramide = P1-(S,S)-tanaramide-P3 > oxalamide > (RS,SR)-tartaramide = P1- (R,R)-tanaramide-P3 > (R,R)-tartaramide (no sequence-specific DNA binding was detected for Bis(Netropsin)s linked by (R)- or (S)-alanine or by tartaric acid acetonides). The chiral molecules retained DNA binding specificity for seven contiguous A:T base pairs. From the DNA affinity cleaving data it could be determined that: 1) Addition of one or two substituents to the linker of Bis(Netropsin)-Succinamide resulted in stepwise decreases in DNA binding affinity; 2) molecules with single hydroxyl substituents bound DNA more strongly than molecules with single dimethylamino substituents; 3) hydroxyl-substituted molecules of (S) configuration bound more strongly to DNA than molecules of (R) configuration. This stereochemical regulation of DNA binding is proposed to arise from the inherent right-handed twist of (S)-enantiomeric Bis(Netropsin)s versus the inherent lefthanded twist of (R)-enantiomeric Bis(Netropsin)s, which makes the (S)-enantiomers more complementary to the right-handed twist of B form DNA.

Chapter Three describes the design and synthesis of molecules for the study of metalloregulated DNA binding phenomena. Among a series of Bis(Netropsin)-EDTA compounds linked by homologous tethers bearing four, five, or six oxygen atoms, the Bis(Netropsin) linked by a pentaether tether exhibited strongly enhanced DNA binding/cleaving in the presence of strontium or barium cations. The observed metallospecificity was consistent with the known affinities of metal cations for the cyclic hexaether 18-crown-6 in water. High-resolution DNA affinity cleaving analysis indicated that DNA binding by this molecule in the presence of strontium or barium was not only stronger but of different sequence-specificity than the (weak) binding observed in the absence of metal cations. The metalloregulated binding sites were consistent with A:T binding by the Netropsin subunits and G:C binding by a strontium or barium:pentaether complex. A model for the observed positive metalloregulation and novel sequence-specificity is presented. The effects of 44 different cations on DNA affinity cleaving by P5E:Fe were examined. A series of Bis(Netropsin)-EDTA compounds linked by tethers bearing two, three, four, or five amino groups was also synthesized. These molecules exhibited strong and specific binding to A:T rich regions of DNA. It was found that the iron complexes of these molecules bound and cleaved DNA most efficiently at pH 6.0-6.5, while P5E:Fe bound and cleaved most efficiently at pH 7.5-8.0. Incubating the Bis(Netropsin) Polyamine-EDTA:Fe molecules with K2PdCl4 abolished their DNA binding/cleaving activity. It is proposed that the observed negative metalloregulation arises from kinetically inert Bis(Netropsin) Polyamine:Pd(II) complexes or aggregates, which are sterically unsuitable for DNA complexation. Finally, attempts to produce a synthetic metalloregulated DNA binding protein are described. For this study, five derivatives of a synthetic 52 amino acid residue DNA binding/cleaving protein were produced. The synthetic mutant proteins carried a novel pentaether ionophoric amino acid residue at different positions within the primary sequence. The proteins did not exhibit significant DNA binding/cleaving activity, but they served to illustrate the potential for introducing novel amino acid residues within DNA binding protein sequences, and for the development of the tricyclohexyl ester of EDTA as a superior reagent for the introduction of EDT A into synthetic proteins.

Chapter Four describes the discovery and characterization of a new DNA binding/cleaving agent, [SalenMn(III)]OAc. This metal complex produces single- and double-strand cleavage of DNA, with specificity for A:T rich regions, in the presence of oxygen atom donors such as iodosyl benzene, hydrogen peroxide, or peracids. Maximal cleavage by [SalenMn(III)]OAc was produced at pH 6-7. A comparison of DNA singleand double-strand cleavage by [SalenMn(III)]+ and other small molecules (Methidiumpropyl-EDTA:Fe, Distamycin-EDTA:Fe, Neocarzinostatin, Bleomycin:Fe) is presented. It was found that DNA cleavage by [SalenMn(III)]+ did not require the presence of dioxygen, and that base treatment of DNA subsequent to cleavage by [SalenMn(III)]+ afforded greater cleavage and alterations in the cleavage patterns. Analysis of DNA products formed upon DNA cleavage by [SalenMn(III)] indicated that cleavage was due to oxidation of the sugar-phosphate backbone of DNA. Several mechanisms consistent with the observed products and reaction requirements are discussed.

Chapter Five describes progress on some additional studies. In one study, the DNA binding/cleaving specificities of Distamycin-EDTA derivatives bearing pyrrole N-isopropyl substituents were found to be the same as those of derivatives bearing pyrrole N-methyl substituents. In a second study, the design of and synthetic progress towards a series of nucleopeptide activators of transcription are presented. Five synthetic plasmids designed to test for activation of in vitro run-off transcription by DNA triple helix-forming oligonucleotides or nucleopeptides are described.

Chapter Six contains the experimental documentation of the thesis work.

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:
  • Unknown, Unknown
Defense Date:11 July 1989
Record Number:CaltechTHESIS:07302014-102529450
Persistent URL:
Default Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:8621
Deposited By: Benjamin Perez
Deposited On:30 Jul 2014 20:03
Last Modified:09 Nov 2022 19:20

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