Bizelesin, an intrahelical DNA-DNA interstrand cross-linker related to (+)-CC-1065, has been shown to alkylate DNA through guanine in restriction enzyme sequences in which there is a suitably positioned adenine contained in a highly reactive monoalkylation sequence on the opposite strand. Oligomers containing the sequence 5′-TTTTTN*, in which “N” was either G, C, or T, were synthesized to evaluate the cross-linking potential of bizelesin at nonadenine bases. Kinetic analysis of monoalkylation and cross-linking events demonstrates that it is the reaction at “N” (guanine or cytosine) that results in the cross-link which is the slow step. On the basis of this analysis and the normal unreactivity of guanine and cytosine to alkylation by the cyclopropapyrroloindole alkylating moiety of (+)-CC-1065, we propose that the molecular mechanism for this type of cross-linking reaction most likely involves a covalent immobilization of the second alkylating arm, resulting in a “proximity-driven” reaction.
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