Acta crystallographica. Section D, Biological crystallography

Coiled-coil conformation of a pentamidine-DNA complex.

PMID 20179336


The coiled-coil structure formed by the complex of the DNA duplex d(ATATATATAT)(2) with pentamidine is presented. The duplex was found to have a mixed structure containing Watson-Crick and Hoogsteen base pairs. The drug stabilizes the coiled coil through the formation of cross-links between neighbouring duplexes. The central part of the drug is found in the minor groove as expected, whereas the charged terminal amidine groups protrude and interact with phosphates from neighbouring molecules. The formation of cross-links may be related to the biological effects of pentamidine, which is used as an antiprotozoal agent in trypanosomiasis, leishmaniasis and pneumonias associated with AIDS. The DNA sequence that was used is highly abundant in most eukaryotic genomes. However, very few data are available on DNA sequences which only contain A.T base pairs.