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Published April 7, 1999 | public
Journal Article Open

NMR Characterization of the Aliphatic β/β Pairing for Recognition of A·T/T·A Base Pairs in the Minor Groove of DNA


Polyamides containing N-methylimidazole (Im) and N-methylpyrrole (Py) amino acids can be combined in antiparallel side-by-side dimeric complexes for sequence-specific recognition in the minor groove of DNA. Because the curvature of four or five contiguous Im−Py rings does not perfectly match the canonical B-helix, β-alanine (β) residues have been inserted to reset the register. Complexes of three pyrrole−imidazole polyamides of sequence composition ImPyPy-X-PyPyPy-Dp, where X = Py, β, or glycine (G), bound to a 13 base pair DNA duplex containing a 9 base pair 5'-TGTATATCA-3' match site were characterized by NMR. NMR titrations and NOESY data combined with restrained molecular modeling show that each polyamide adopts an extended antiparallel dimeric conformation with the ligands fully overlapped around a central Py/Py, G/G, or β/β pair. Conformational exchange is seen near the linker for the G-linked complex, but not with the β or Py linkers. In addition to providing the first direct structural evidence for formation of the aliphatic β/β pairing in the minor groove, models support the idea that the β linker of ImPyPy-β-PyPyPy-Dp provides an optimal combination of size, flexibility, and alignment of the polyamide-paired aromatic subunits in extended, dimeric 2:1 complexes.

Additional Information

© 1999 American Chemical Society. Received October 19, 1998. Revised Manuscript Received February 1, 1999. Publication Date (Web): March 19, 1999. We are grateful to the National Institutes of Health (Grant GM 43129 to D.E.W. and Grant GM 27681 to P.B.D.) and the National Foundation for Cancer Research for research support, to the Ralph M. Parson Foundation for a graduate fellowship to M.M., to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for a predoctoral fellowship to E.E.B, and to the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Science Foundation for instrumentation grants. R.P.L.d.C. and C.J.S. gratefully acknowledge postdoctoral fellowships from the Fundación Ramón Areces and the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft, respectively. R.P.L.d.C., B.H.G., and D.E.W. also thank T. D. Cole and P. A. Fagan for helpful discussions.

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August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023