Alternative heterocycles for DNA recognition: the benzimidazole/imidazole pair.

Research paper by Christoph A CA Briehn, Philipp P Weyermann, Peter B PB Dervan

Indexed on: 13 May '03Published on: 13 May '03Published in: Chemistry - A European Journal


Boc-protected benzimidazole-pyrrole, benzimidazole-imidazole, and benzimidazole-methoxypyrrole amino acids were synthesized and incorporated into DNA binding polyamides, comprised of N-methyl pyrrole and N-methyl imidazole amino acids, by means of solid-phase synthesis on an oxime resin. These hairpin polyamides were designed to determine the DNA recognition profile of a side-by-side benzimidazole/imidazole pair for the designated six base pair recognition sequence. Equilibrium association constants of the polyamide-DNA complexes were determined at two of the six base pair positions of the recognition sequence by quantitative DNase I footprinting titrations on DNA fragments each containing matched and single base pair mismatched binding sites. The results indicate that the benzimidazole-heterocycle building blocks can replace pyrrole-pyrrole, pyrrole-imidazole, and pyrrole-hydroxypyrrole constructs while retaining relative site specifities and subnanomolar match site affinities. The benzimidazole-containing hairpin polyamides represent a novel class of DNA binding ligands featuring tunable target recognition sequences combined with the favorable properties of the benzimidazole type DNA minor groove binders.