• arylimidamides;
  • DNA;
  • minor-groove binders;
  • molecular modeling;
  • X-ray crystallography


Heterocyclic diamidines are strong DNA minor-groove binders and have excellent antiparasitic activity. To extend the biological activity of these compounds, a series of arylimidamides (AIAs) analogues, which have better uptake properties in Leishmania and Trypanosoma cruizi than diamidines, was prepared. The binding of the AIAs to DNA was investigated by Tm, fluorescence displacement titration, circular dichroism, DNase I footprinting, biosensor surface plasmon resonance, X-ray crystallography and molecular modeling. These compounds form 1:1 complexes with AT sequences in the DNA minor groove, and the binding strength varies with substituent size, charge and polarity. These substituent-dependent structure and properties provide a SAR that can be used to estimate K values for binding to DNA in this series. The structural results and molecular modeling studies provide an explanation for the differences in binding affinities for AIAs.