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A substantial fraction of mutations that arise in the cell comes from oxidative damage to DNA bases. Oxidation of purine bases at the 8-position, yielding 8-oxo-G and 8-oxo-A, results in conformational changes (from anti to syn) that cause miscoding during DNA replication. Here we describe the synthesis and biophysical and biochemical properties of low-polarity shape mimics of 8-oxopurines, and we report that these new analogues exhibit remarkable mimicry of the mutagenic properties of the natural damaged bases. A 2-chloro-4-fluoroindole nucleoside (1) was designed as an isosteric analogue of 8-oxo-dG, and a 2-chloro-4-methylbenzimidazole nucleoside (2) as a mimic of 8-oxo-dA. The nucleosides were prepared by reaction of the parent heterocycles with Hoffer's chlorodeoxyribose derivative. Structural studies of the free nucleosides 1 and 2 revealed that both bases are oriented syn, thus mimicking the conformation of the oxopurine nucleosides. Suitably protected phosphoramidite derivatives were prepared for incorporation into synthetic DNAs, to be used as probes of DNA damage responses, and 5'-triphosphate derivatives (3 and 4) were synthesized as analogues of damaged nucleotides in the cellular nucleotide pool. Base pairing studies in 12-mer duplexes showed that 1 and 2 have low affinity for polar pairing partners, consistent with previous nonpolar DNA base analogues. However, both compounds pair with small but significant selectivity for purine partners, consistent with the idea that the syn purine geometry leads to pyrimidine-like shapes. Steady-state kinetics studies of 1 and 2 were carried out with the Klenow fragment of Escherichia coli DNA Pol I (exo-) in single-nucleotide insertions. In the DNA template, the analogues successfully mimicked the mutagenic behavior of oxopurines, with 1 being paired selectively with adenine and 2 pairing selectively with guanine. The compounds showed similar mutagenic behavior as nucleoside triphosphate analogues, being preferentially inserted opposite mutagenic purine partners. The results suggest that much of the mutagenicity of oxopurines arises from their shapes in the syn conformation rather than from electrostatic and hydrogen-bonding effects. The new analogues are expected to be generally useful as mechanistic probes of cellular responses to DNA damage.


Yosuke Taniguchi, Eric T Kool. Nonpolar isosteres of damaged DNA bases: effective mimicry of mutagenic properties of 8-oxopurines. Journal of the American Chemical Society. 2007 Jul 18;129(28):8836-44

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PMID: 17592846

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