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Photo-Cross-Linking Probes for Trapping G-Quadruplex DNA


  • We thank Prof. Dr. Elmar Weinhold, IOCRWTH Aachen for a fruitful discussion on photo-cross-linking.


We have developed a straightforward synthetic pathway to a set of six photoactivatable G-quadruplex ligands with a validated G4-binding motif (the bisquinolinium pyridodicarboxamide PDC-360A) tethered through various spacers to two different photo-cross-linking groups: benzophenone and an aryl azide. The high quadruplex-versus-duplex selectivity of the PDC core was retained in the new derivatives and resulted in selective alkylation of two well-known G-quadruplexes (human telomeric G4 and oncogene promoter c-myc G4) under conditions of harsh competition. The presence of two structurally different photoactivatable functions allowed the selective alkylation of G-quadruplex structures at specific nucleobases and irreversible G4 binding. The topology and sequence of the quadruplex matrix appear to influence strongly the alkylation profile, which differs for the telomeric and c-myc quadruplexes. The new compounds are photoactive in cells and thus provide new tools for studying G4 biology.