- Sunday, January 1, 2006
- Hybrid molecules based on distamycin A as potential antitumor agents
- Published at:ARKIVOC Pages: 20-34 Part: Part 7 Published: 2006
Many natural and synthetic anticancer agents with the ability to interact with DNA have been discovered, but most of them have relatively low therapeutic index. This is probably related to the fact that these derivatives cause DNA damage in an unspecific manner, inducing unselective growth inhibition and death, both in neoplastic and in highly proliferative normal tissues. For these reasons, there has been considerable interest in finding small molecules able to alkylate the DNA with a much higher degree of sequence specificity and to modify the function of nucleic acids irreversibly. Analogues of naturally occurring antitumor agents, such as distamycin A, which bind in the minor groove of DNA, represent a new class of anticancer compounds currently under investigation. Distamycin A has driven researcher's attention not only for the biological activity, but also for its non intercalative binding to the minor groove of double-stranded B-DNA, where it forms strong reversible complex preferentially at the nucleotide sequences consisting of 4-5 adjacent AT base pairs. The pyrrole-amide skeleton of distamycin A has also been used as DNA sequence selective vehicle for the delivery of alkylating functions to DNA targets, leading to a sharp increase of its cytotoxicity, in comparison to that, very weak, of distamycin itself. The DNA alkylating and cytotoxic activities against several tumor cell lines are reported and discussed in terms of their structural differences in relation to both the number of N-methyl pyrrole rings and the type of the alkylating unit tethered to the oligopeptidic frame.