The interaction between the novel intercalator diethidium cation and B-form DNA: a theoretical study.


This research is an effort to further understand the physicochemical interaction between the novel drug molecule diethidium (2,7-diamino 9-[2,7 diamino 10-nN-phenanthridium] 10-nN-phenanthridium) and its biological receptor DNA. The ultimate goal is the elucidation of this novel class of drugs as potential pharmaceutical agents. Understanding the physicochemical properties of this drug as well as the mechanism by which it interacts with DNA should ultimately allow the rational design of novel anti-cancer or anti-viral drugs. A novel binding structure for the diethidium cation to B-form DNA is herein described. Molecular modeling on the complex formed between diethidium and a dodecamer of double-stranded B-form DNA, CGCGAATTCGCG, has shown that this complex is indeed fully capable of participating in the formation of a stable intercalation site. It was expected that diethidium would have a mechanism of intercalation significantly different from other classical intercalators because a) Its structure, that of two perpendicular planes, each known to have excellent intercalation properties, is novel b) The linker region length is zero c) The tilt between the two planes of the drug matches the geometry of the space available to this drug in the major groove. We have studied the complex formed when diethidium enters the central site of the B-DNA dodecamer through the major groove. The complex forms several classes of intercalation structures, which are all stable and vary from "partially intercalated" to "fully intercalated". Multiple minimizations show the drug to be very mobile within the intercalation site. Further, some structures show organization and concomitant stiffening of the DNA above the intercalation site, with a disorganization and disruption of the regular B-DNA structure immediately below the intercalation site. This particular phenomena may be expected to lead to significantly different physicochemical properties for the diethidium complex with respect to other known intercalators, because this sort of vectorial difference in structure above and below the site of intercalation is unknown in existing intercalators, as far as the authors are aware. In addition, we expect the mechanism of interaction between drug and DNA to be described by "direct ligand transfer", wherein the drug is transferred from duplex DNA to duplex DNA without re-entering the solvent. This work is the first instance known to the authors of a novel drug entity that was deduced solely by mathematical reasoning and described subsequently by computational methods. Evidence that diethidium should interact with its target site DNA differently from other known intercalators is strong.

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@article{Monaco1996TheIB, title={The interaction between the novel intercalator diethidium cation and B-form DNA: a theoretical study.}, author={Regina R. Monaco and Walter Polkosnik}, journal={Journal of biomolecular structure & dynamics}, year={1996}, volume={14 1}, pages={13-9} }