Oligodeoxyribonucleotides of sequence d(5'TGGGAG3') carrying bulky aromatic groups at the 5' end were found to exhibit potent anti-HIV activity [Hotoda, H., et al. (1998) J. Med. Chem. 41, 3655-3663 and references therein]. Structure-activity relationship investigations indicated that G-quadruplex formation, as well as the presence of large aromatic substituents at the 5'-end, were both essential for their antiviral activity. In this work, we synthesized some representative examples of the anti-HIV active Hotoda's 6-mers and analyzed the resulting G-quadruplexes by CD, DSC, and molecular modeling studies, in comparison with the unmodified oligonucleotide. In the case of the sequence carrying the 3,4-dibenzyloxybenzyl (DBB) group, identified as the best candidate for further drug optimization, we developed an alternative protocol to synthesize the 5'-DBB-thymidine phosphoramidite building block in higher yields. The thermodynamic and kinetic parameters for the association/dissociation processes of the 5'-conjugated quadruplexes, determined with respect to the unmodified one, were discussed in light of the molecular modeling studies. The aromatic groups at the 5' position of d(5'TGGGAG3') dramatically enhance both the equilibrium and the rate of formation of the quadruplex complexes. The overall stability of the investigated quadruplexes was found to correlate with the reported IC50 values, thus furnishing quantitative evidence for the hypothesis that the G-quadruplex structures are the ultimate active species, effectively responsible for the biological activity.
A number of 5'-and 3'-glycoconjugates of the oligonucleotide (5')d(TGGGAG)(3') have been synthesized, exploiting fully automated, online phosphoramidite-based solid phase strategy, as potential anti-HIV-1 agents. The thermodynamic stability of the resulting quadruplexes has been investigated by thermal denaturation studies, via a detailed CD Q1 analysis.
Targeting double-stranded DNA with homopyrimidine PNAs results in strand displacement complexes PNA/DNA/PNA rather than PNA/DNA/DNA triplex structures. Not much is known about the binding properties of DNA-PNA chimeras. A 16-mer 5'-DNA-3'-p-(N)PNA(C) has been investigated for its ability to hybridize a complementary duplex DNA by DSC, CD, and molecular modeling studies. The obtained results showed the formation of a triplex structure having similar, if not slightly higher, stability compared to the same all-DNA complex.
A systematic study to evaluate the ability of 5'-DNA-3'-p-(N)-PNA-(C) chimeras to form triple helix structures has been undertaken. Preliminary results carried out on a 16-mer chimera with three PNA monomers at the 3'-end showed the formation of a stable DNA-PNA/DNA/DNA triplex, having similar conformational behaviour to a canonical DNA/DNA/DNA triplex.
The stability of a 16-mer DNA triple helix containing a 3-N(ferrocenemethyl)-thymidine residue in the third strand has been investigated in comparison with the unmodified triplex of the same sequence. A complete physico-chemical characterization of the two triple helices on changing the pH by means of calorimetry, circular dichroism and molecular modeling is therefore reported. The thermodynamic parameters were obtained in the pH range 5.5-7.2 by differential scanning calorimetry (DSC). For both triplexes the T(m) and Delta H degrees (T(m)) values increase on decreasing the pH. In the pH range 7.2-6.0 the triplex containing the ferrocenemethyl nucleoside is less stable than the unmodified one, whereas the modified triplex becomes more stable at pH 5.5. Such difference in stability at each pH value is overwhelmingly enthalpic in origin. CD spectra show conformational changes on decreasing the pH for both the triplexes. By spectroscopic pH titration the apparent pK(a) values of the cytosines in the two triplexes could be estimated, with the cytosines in the TFO containing the ferrocenemethyl residue having lower apparent pK(a) values. These results are consistent with the calorimetric data, showing a decrease of the thermodynamic parameters in the pH range 7.2-6.0 and an increase at pH 5.5 for the ferrocenylated triplex with respect to the unmodified one. The thermodynamic and spectroscopic data are also discussed in relation to molecular models.
Oligonucleotides with a 3'-3' inversion of polarity site assured by one lysine residue have been synthesized, characterized and used as third strands in alternate strand triple helix formation. UV melting studies and molecular mechanics calculations have been carried out to investigate the stability and the geometry of these new triplexes.
Differential scanning calorimetric (DSC), circular dichroism (CD) and molecular mechanics studies have been performed on two triple helices of DNA. The target duplex consists of 16 base pairs in alternate sequence of the type 5'-(purine)m(pyrimidine)m-3'. In both the triplexes, the third oligopyrimidine strand crosses the major groove at the purine-pyrimidine junction, with a simultaneous binding of the adjacent purine tracts on alternate strands of the Watson-Crick duplex. The switch is ensured by a non-nucleotide linker, the 1,2,3 propanetriol residue, that joins two 3'-3' phosphodiester ends. The third strands differ from each other for a nucleotide in the junction region. The resulting triple helices were termed 14-mer-PXP and 15-mer-PXP (where P = phosphate and X = 1,2,3-propanetriol residue) according to the number of nucleotides that compose the third strand. DSC data show two independent processes: the first corresponding to the dissociation of the third strand from the target duplex, the second to the dissociation of the double helix in two single strands. The two triple helices show the same stability at pH 6.6. At pH 6.0, the 15-mer-PXP triplex is thermodynamically more stable than the 14-mer-PXP triplex. Thermodynamic data are discussed in relation to structural models. The results are useful when considering the design of oligonucleotides that can bind in an antigene approach to the DNA for therapeutic purposes.