Molecular Basis for Differential Recognition of G-Quadruplex versus Double-Helix DNA by Bis-Phenanthroline Metal Complexes
Riccardo Rigo, Sara Bianco, Caterina Musetti, Manlio Palumbo, Claudia Sissi
1,10-Phenanthroline (Phen) derivatives are attractive ligands to provide metal complexes that are selective for different DNA secondary structures. Herein, we analyze the binding processes of two bis-Phen analogues and their NiII complexes toward double-stranded DNA and telomeric G-quadruplex DNA by calorimetric and spectroscopic techniques. The free ligands can adapt to both DNA arrangements. Conversely, metal ion coordination produces an increase in ligand affinity for the tetrahelical structure, whereas it dramatically decreases binding to double-stranded DNA as a result of distinct binding modes on the two templates. In fact, NiII complexes effectively stack on the G-quadruplex terminals, with an entropic loss counterbalanced by favorable enthalpy changes, whereas they cause a conformational reshaping of the double-helix form with a substantial decrease in the binding free energy. Consistently, no NiII–DNA ionic pair has ever been identified. These results provide a rationale for the selective recognition of distinct DNA arrangements in view of targeted pharmacological applications.
Circular dichroism, Secondary structure, DNA structure, Coordination chemistry, Ligand binding, Pharmaceutical, Biochemistry