Nucleic acid therapeutics

The interaction of telomere DNA G-quadruplex with three bis-benzyltetrahydroisoquinoline alkaloids.

PMID 22017543


Telomeres are important multifunctional nucleoprotein structures located at the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes. Telomerase regulates telomere elongation, and its activity is associated with tumorigenesis. Because the activity of telomerase can be inhibited by G-quadruplex (G4) formation (a four-stranded DNA with stacks of G-quartets formed by four guanines in a planar structure), the role of G4 in cancer therapy has attracted many research interests. We studied the effects of three natural alkaloids-tetrandrine, fangchinoline, and berbamine-on the stability and formation of telomere DNA G4 with circular dichroism melting spectroscopy (melting-CD), variable temperature ultraviolet (melting-UV), proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy ((1)H NMR), and molecular docking, and examined the relationships among the alkaloid structure and their activities. We further investigated their cytotoxicity with the 3-(4,5-dimethylthiazole-2-yl)-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide assay (MTT) and flow cytometry (FCM). The results demonstrated that alkaloids increased G4 stability and induced its formation, which added structure diversity of G4-ligands. The results showed that -OH at R(1), -OCH(3) at R(2), and [Formula: see text] at R(3) had higher stability than other substituent groups for these alkaloids. We also found a transition of antiparallel to parallel G4 as the temperature increased. The result indicated the possible advantage of parallel G4 in adversity. In addition, the alkaloids demonstrated a moderate cytotoxicity and proved to be cell cycle blocker in the G(1) phase. These alkaloids have revealed promising potentials to be the agents for antitumor therapy.

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Berbamine dihydrochloride
C37H40N2O6 ·2HCl
Tetrandrine, analytical standard, for drug analysis