Selectivity of an indolyl berberine derivative for tetrameric G-quadruplex DNA
Negative ion electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) was used to compare the binding affinities and stoichiometries of the alkaloid berberine, a 13-substituted indolyl berberine derivative, SS14, and the chemotherapeutic agent, daunomycin, for 16-mer double-stranded (ds) DNA (D1 and D2) and for an 8-mer tetrameric quadruplex, Q1 (d(TTGGGGGT)4). Under the experimental conditions presented here, ESI mass spectra of Q1 showed that the major ions were from Q1 with three ammonium ions bound in the structure. Ions from Q1 with four ammonium ions were of lower abundance. In agreement with other work, there were multiple binding sites on the dsDNA and the quadruplex for daunomycin and berberine. The binding of SS14 to both dsDNA and Q1 was less extensive. Although the binding affinity of SS14 for Q1 was modest, this compound showed a clear preference for Q1 DNA over D1 or D2 DNA. Berberine and daunomycin bound with greater affinity to both types of DNA secondary structure, with the former showing a slight preference for Q1 over D1 while the latter showed a slight preference for D1 over Q1. While at least five berberine molecules bound to Q1, this quadruplex could accommodate only two SS14 molecules. These investigations show that SS14 is a promising lead compound for drugs that may selectively bind quadruplex over duplex DNA.