The interaction of metallosupramolecular cylinders with DNA three-way junctions has been studied by gel electrophoresis. A recent X-ray crystal structure of a palindromic oligonucleotide forming part of a complex with such a cylinder revealed binding at the heart of a three-way junction structure. The studies reported herein confirm that this is not solely an artefact of crystallisation and reveal that this is a potentially very powerful new mode of DNA recognition with wide scope. The cylinders are much more effective at stabilizing three-way junctions than simple magnesium dications or organic or metallo-organic tetracations, with the M cylinder enantiomer being more effective than P. The recognition is not restricted to three-way junctions formed from palindromic DNA with a central AT step at the junction; non-palindromic three-way junctions and those with GC steps are also stabilised. The cylinder is also revealed to stabilise other Y-shaped junctions, such as that formed at a fraying point in duplex DNA (for example, a replication fork), and other DNA three-way junction structures, such as those containing impaired nucleotides, perhaps by opening up this structure to access the central cavity.
- three-way junctions
- metallosupramolecular cylinder
- supramolecular chemistry
- gel electrophoresis