(+)-CC-1065 is an extremely potent antitumor antibiotic produced by Streptomyces zelensis. The potent cytotoxic effects of the drug are thought to be due to the formation of a covalent adduct with DNA through N3 of adenine. Although the covalent linkage sites between (+)-CC-1065 and DNA have been determined, the tautomeric form of the covalently modified adenine in the (+)-CC-I065-DNA duplex adduct was not defined. A [6-15N]deoxyadenosine-labeled 12 base pair non-self-complementary oligomer, d(GGCGGAGTT*AGG)·d(CCTAACTCCGCC) (asterisk indicates 15N-labeled base), containing the (+)-CC-1065 most preferred binding sequence 5′AGTTA, was synthesized and modified with (+)-CC-1065. This [6-15N]deoxyadenosine-labeled 12-mer duplex adduct was then studied by 1H and 15N NMR. Onedimensional NOE difference and two-dimensional NOESY 1H NMR experiments on the nonisotopically labeled 12-mer duplex adduct demonstrate that the 6-amino protons of the covalently modified adenine exhibit two signals at 9.19 and 9.08 ppm. Proton NMR experiments on the [6-15N]deoxyadenosine-labeled 12-mer duplex adduct show that the two resonance signals for adenine H6 observed on the nonisotopically labeled duplex adduct were split into doublets by the 15N nucleus with coupling constants of 91.3 Hz for non-hydrogen-bonded and 86.8 Hz for hydrogen-bonded amino protons. Parallel 15N NMR experiments on the [6-15N]deoxyadenosine-labeled (+)-CC-1065-12-mer duplex adduct show a triplet-like signal around -−76.9 ppm and coupling constants of 91.5 and 85.6 Hz. The large downfield shift (24.05 ppm) of the 15N signal of the (+)-CC-l 065-12-mer duplex adduct is in accord with the formation of an extra positive charge on the exocyclic nitrogen at the N6 position and a partial double bond character between N6 and C6 atoms of the covalently modified adenine upon drug modification. We conclude that the covalently modified adenine N6 of the (+)-CC-1065-12-mer duplex adduct is predominantly in the doubly protonated form, in which calculations predict that the C6-N6 bond is shortened and the positive charge is delocalized over the entire adenine molecule.
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