Changes in 13C NMR chemical shifts of DNA as a tool for monitoring drug interactions

Steven R. Laplante, Philip N. Borer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The antibiotic drug, netropsin, was complexed with the DNA oligonucleotide duplex [d(GGTATACC)]2 to explore the effects of ligand binding on the 13C NMR chemical shifts of the DNA base and sugar carbons. The binding mode of netrospin to TA-rich tracts of DNA has been well documented and served as an attractive model system. For the base carbons, four large changes in resonance chemical shifts were observed upon complex formation: -0.64 ppm for carbon 4 of either Ado4 or Ado6, 1.36 ppm for carbon 2 of Thd5, 1.33 ppm for carbon 5 of Thd5 and 0.94 for carbon 6 of Thd5. AdoC4 is covalently bonded to a heteroatom that is hydrogen bonded to netropsin; this relatively large deshielding is consistent with the known hydrogen bond formed at AdoN3. The three large shielding increases are consistent with hydrogen bonds to water in the minor groove being disrupted upon netropsin binding. For the DNA sugar resonances, large changes in chemical shifts were observed upon netropsin complexation. The 2′, 3′ and 5′ 13C resonances of Thd3 and Thd5 were shielded whereas those of Ado4 and Ado6 were deshielded; the 13C resonances of 1′ and 4′ could not be assigned. These changes are consistent with alteration of the dynamic pseudorotational states occupied by the DNA sugars. A significant alteration in the pseudorotational states of Ado4 or Ado6 must occur as suggested by the large change in chemical shift of -1.65 ppm of the C3′ carbon. In conclusion, 13C NMR may serve as a practical tool for analyzing structural changes in DNA-ligand complexes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)219-232
Number of pages14
JournalBiophysical Chemistry
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 18 2001


  • Chemical shift
  • DNA
  • Drug
  • Ligand
  • NMR
  • Netropsin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Biochemistry
  • Organic Chemistry


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