The antibiotic AT2433-B1 belongs to a therapeutically important class of antitumor agents. This natural product contains an indolocarbazole aglycone connected to a unique disaccharide consisting of a methoxyglucose and an amino sugar subunit, 2,4-dideoxy-4-methylamino-L-xylose. The configuration of the amino sugar distinguishes AT2433-B1 from its diastereoisomer iso-AT2433-B1. Here we have investigated the interaction of these two disaccharide indolocarbazole derivatives with different DNA sequences by means of DNase I footprinting and surface plasmon resonance (SPR). Accurate binding measurements performed at 4 and 25°C using the BIAcore SPR method revealed that AT2433-B1 binds considerably more tightly to a hairpin oligomer containing a [CG]4 block than to an oligomer with a central [AT]4 tract. The kinetic analysis shows that the antibiotic dissociates much more slowly from the GC sequence compared to the AT one. Preferential binding of AT2433-B1 to GC-rich sequences in DNA was independently confirmed by DNase I footprinting experiments performed with a 117 bp DNA restriction fragment. The specific binding sequence 5′-AACGCCAG identified from the footprints was then converted into a biotin-labeled DNA hairpin duplex and compound interactions with this specific sequence were characterized by high resolution BIAcore SPR experiments. Such a combined approach provided a detailed understanding of the molecular basis of DNA recognition. The discovery that the glycosyl antibiotic AT2433-B1 preferentially recognizes defined sequences offers novel opportunities for the future design of sequence-specific DNA-reading small molecules.
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