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Keywords:

  • biomimetic ligands;
  • guanine;
  • porphyrins;
  • quadruplexes;
  • quadruplex ligands;
  • synthetic G-quartets

Abstract

Secondary nucleic acid structures, such as DNA and RNA quadruplexes, are potential targets for cancer therapies. Ligands that interact with these targets could thus find application as anticancer agents. Synthetic G-quartets have recently found numerous applications, including use as bioinspired G-quadruplex ligands. Herein, the design, synthesis and preliminary biophysical evaluation of a new prototype multitarget G-quadruplex ligand, PNAPorphySQ, are reported, where peptidic nucleic acid guanine (PNAG) was incorporated in the porphyrin-templated synthetic G-quartet (PorphySQ). Using fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-melting experiments, PorphySQ was shown to possess enhanced quadruplex-interacting properties thanks to the presence of four positively charged PNAG residues that improve its electrostatic interactions with the binding site of both DNA and RNA quadruplexes (i.e., their negatively charged and accessible G-quartets), thereby making PNAPorphySQ an interesting prototype of a multitarget ligand. Both the chemical stability and water solubility of PNAPorphySQ are improved over the non-PNA derivative (PorphySQ), which are desirable properties for drug development, and while improvements remain to be made, this ligand is a promising lead for the further development of multitarget G-quadruplex ligands.