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Rational Design of a Cytotoxic Dinuclear Cu2 Complex That Binds by Molecular Recognition at Two Neighboring Phosphates of the DNA Backbone

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journal contribution
posted on 17.12.2015, 07:36 by Thomas Jany, Alexander Moreth, Claudia Gruschka, Andy Sischka, Andre Spiering, Mareike Dieding, Ying Wang, Susan Haji Samo, Anja Stammler, Hartmut Bögge, Gabriele Fischer von Mollard, Dario Anselmetti, Thorsten Glaser
The mechanism of the cytotoxic function of cisplatin and related anticancer drugs is based on their binding to the nucleobases of DNA. The development of new classes of anticancer drugs requires establishing other binding modes. Therefore, we performed a rational design for complexes that target two neighboring phosphates of the DNA backbone by molecular recognition resulting in a family of dinuclear complexes based on 2,7-disubstituted 1,8-naphthalenediol. This rigid backbone preorganizes the two metal ions for molecular recognition at the distance of two neighboring phosphates in DNA of 6–7 Å. Additionally, bulky chelating pendant arms in the 2,7-position impede nucleobase complexation by steric hindrance. We successfully synthesized the CuII2 complex of the designed family of dinuclear complexes and studied its binding to dsDNA by independent ensemble and single-molecule methods like gel electrophoresis, precipitation, and titration experiments followed by UV–vis spectroscopy, atomic force microscopy (AFM), as well as optical tweezers (OT) and magnetic tweezers (MT) DNA stretching. The observed irreversible binding of our dinuclear CuII2 complex to dsDNA leads to a blocking of DNA synthesis as studied by polymerase chain reactions and cytotoxicity for human cancer cells.