Analysis of the anomalous migration in electrophoretic mobilities of (+)-CC-1065-modified oligomers following ligation reveals that (+)-CC-1065 induces DNA bending and winding of the helix. (+)-CC-1065 is a potent antitumor antibiotic produced by Streptomyces zelensis. This drug selectively bonds covalently to N3 of adenine and lies in the minor groove of DNA, reacting in a highly sequence-selective manner. Structurally, (+)-CC-1065 consists of three subunits: Two identical pyrroloindole units (subunits B and C) and a third subunit containing the DNA-reactive cyclopropane ring (subunit A). While the bonding reaction is the main determinant of DNA sequence selectivity of (+)-CC-1065, binding interactions between the inside edge substituents of the B and C subunits and the floor of the minor groove of DNA can modulate or fine tune this sequence selectivity [Hurley, L. H., Lee, C.-S., McGovren, J. P., Mitchell, M. A., Warpehoski, M. A., Kelly, R. C, & Aristoff, P. A. (1988) Biochemistry 27, 3886–3892]. The A subunit of (+)-CC-1065 is responsible for the bending of DNA, and close van der Waals contacts between the inside edge of (+)-CC-1065 and the floor of the minor groove of DNA cause winding equivalent to about 1 base pair per alkylation site and stiffening of DNA. The magnitude of DNA bending induced by (+)-CC-1065 and related compounds is about 14–19°, which is equivalent to that produced by an adenine-thymine tract of about 5–6 base pairs in length. Experiments using oligomers containing both an adenine tract and a unique (+)-CC-1065 bonding site approximately one helix turn apart demonstrate that the directionality of drug-induced bending is in toward the minor groove and the locus of bending is about 2–3 base pairs to the 5′-side of the covalently modified adenine. A circularization efficiency assay shows that the optimum size of circles produced by (+)-CC-1065 and related drugs is between 168 and 180 base pairs. These results are discussed in relation to the molecular basis of the DNA sequence selectivity of (+)-CC-1065, and the (+)-CC-1065-induced DNA bending is compared with the intrinsic bending associated with adenine tracts. Since (+)-CC-1065 induces effects on local DNA structure that appear similar to those produced naturally by adenine tracts and certain DNA binding proteins, the relevance of this phenomenon to biological effects of (+)-CC-1065 and related drugs is considered.
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