The Microenvironment of DNA Switches the Activity of Singlet Oxygen Generation Photosensitized by Berberine and Palmatine


* (Kazutaka Hirakawa)


The effect of the interaction between DNA and the photosensitizer on photosensitized singlet oxygen (1O2) generation was investigated using DNA-binding alkaloids, berberine and palmatine. These photosensitizers were bound to DNA by electrostatic force. Near-infrared luminescence measurement demonstrated that the photoexcited alkaloids can generate 1O2 only when the photosensitizers are bound to DNA. A fluorescence decay study showed significant enhancement of the lifetime of their photoexcited state with the DNA binding. A calculation study suggested that the electrostatic interaction with DNA inhibits the quenching of the photoexcited state of these alkaloids via intramolecular electron transfer, leading to the prolongation of the lifetime of their excited state. This effect should enhance their intersystem crossing and the yield of energy transfer to molecular oxygen. The results show that the electrostatic interaction with DNA significantly affects the 1O2 generation activity of a photosensitizer. In addition, this interaction may be applied to the control and the design of photosensitizers for medical applications such as photodynamic therapy.