C 3-symmetric opioid scaffolds are pH-responsive DNA condensation agents
Herein we report the synthesis of tripodal C 3 -symmetric opioid scaffolds as high-affinity condensation agents of duplex DNA. Condensation was achieved on both supercoiled and canonical B-DNA structures and identified by agarose electrophoresis, viscosity, turbidity and atomic force microscopy (AFM) measurements. Structurally, the requirement of a tris -opioid scaffold for condensation is demonstrated as both di- ( C 2 -symmetric) and mono-substituted ( C 1 -symmetric) mesitylene-linked opioid derivatives poorly coordinate dsDNA. Condensation, observed by toroidal and globule AFM aggregation, arises from surface-binding ionic interactions between protonated, cationic, tertiary amine groups on the opioid skeleton and the phosphate nucleic acid backbone. Indeed, by converting the 6-hydroxyl group of C 3 -morphine ( MC3 ) to methoxy substituents in C 3 -heterocodeine ( HC3 ) and C 3 -oripavine ( OC3 ) molecules, dsDNA compaction is retained thus negating the possibility of phosphate—hydroxyl surface-binding. Tripodal opioid condensation was identified as pH dependent and strongly influenced by ionic strength with further evidence of cationic amine-phosphate backbone coordination arising from thermal melting analysis and circular dichroism spectroscopy, with compaction also witnessed on synthetic dsDNA co-polymers poly[d(A-T) 2 ] and poly[d(G-C) 2 ]. On-chip microfluidic analysis of DNA condensed by C 3 -agents provided concentration-dependent protection (inhibition) to site-selective excision by type II restriction enzymes: BamHI, HindIII, SalI and EcoRI, but not to the endonuclease DNase I.
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