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Journal Of Biological Inorganic Chemistry


G-quadruplexes are non-canonical DNA structures formed by guanine-rich DNA sequences that are implicated in cancer and aging. Understanding how small molecule ligands interact with quadruplexes is essential both to the development of novel anticancer therapeutics and to the design of new quadruplex-selective probes needed for elucidation of quadruplex biological functions. In this work, UV–visible, fluorescence, and circular dichroism spectroscopies, fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET) melting assays, and resonance light scattering were used to investigate how the Pt(II) and Pd(II) derivatives of the well-studied 5,10,15,20-tetrakis(N-methyl-4-pyridyl)porphyrin (TMPyP4) interact with quadruplexes formed by the human telomeric DNA, Tel22, and by the G-rich sequences from oncogene promoters. Our results suggest that Pt- and PdTMPyP4 interact with Tel22 via efficient π–π stacking with a binding affinity of 106–107 M−1. Under porphyrin excess, PtTMPyP4 aggregates using Tel22 as a template; the aggregates reach maximum size at [PtTMPyP4]/[Tel22] ~8 and dissolve at [PtTMPyP4]/[Tel22] ≤ 2. FRET assays reveal that both porphyrins are excellent stabilizers of human telomeric DNA, with stabilization temperature of 30.7 ± 0.6 °C for PtTMPyP4 and 30.9 ± 0.4 °C for PdTMPyP4 at [PtTMPyP4]/[Tel22] = 2 in K+ buffer, values significantly higher as compared to those for TMPyP4. The porphyrins display modest selectivity for quadruplex vs. duplex DNA, with selectivity ratios of 150 and 330 for Pt- and PdTMPyP4, respectively. This selectivity was confirmed by observed ‘light switch’ effect: fluorescence of PtTMPyP4 increases significantly in the presence of a variety of DNA secondary structures, yet the strongest effect is produced by quadruplex DNA.


G-quadruplex DNA, Metalloporphyrin, Light switch effect, Fluorescence, Human telomeric DNA

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


This work is freely available courtesy of Springer Verlag under a Creative Commons License.