Nav: Home

How do metals interact with DNA?

March 22, 2017

To fight cancer, every year thousands of chemical substances are screened for their potential effects on tumor cells. Once a compound able to inhibit cancer cell growth is found, it still takes several years of research until the drug gets approved and can be applied to patients. The elucidation of the different pathways that a drug takes within human cells, in order to predict possible adverse effects, usually requires elaborate and time-consuming experiments.

The teams of Leticia González from the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Vienna and Jacinto Sá from Uppsala University have developed a protocol that is able to detect with high precision how, where, and why a drug interacts with the biomolecules of an organism. "In a first step, using high-energy X-ray radiation from the Swiss Light Source third-generation-synchrotron, the favorite binding location of the drug inside the cell is determined", González explains. In a second step, advanced theoretical simulations, partially done on the supercomputer "Vienna Scientific Cluster", rationalize the preference of the potential medicament for that particular location.

The scientists have applied this protocol to the drug Pt103, which is known to have cytotoxic properties but an unknown mechanism of action. The compound Pt103, which belongs to the family of the so-called platinum-based drugs, showed promising antitumor activity in previous studies. Until recently, scientists could only speculate on the action of the compound with the DNA found inside a human or cancer cell. "We could show that the drug binds to a specific site of DNA, which was not expected based on previous research. And we could also explain why the drug attacks this particular site." says Juan J. Nogueira, a postdoctoral researcher in the group of González and co-author of the study. Using this newly gained knowledge one can better understand the functionality of the corresponding chemotherapeutic agent, which might lead to the development of new and more efficient drugs.
-end-
Publication in Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters

"Direct Determination of Metal Complexes Interaction with DNA by Atomic Telemetry and Multiscale Molecular Dynamics." Joanna Czapla-Masztafiak, Juan J. Nogueira, Ewelina Lipiec, Wojciech M. Kwiatek, Bayden R. Wood, Glen B. Deacon, Yves Kayser, Daniel L. A. Fernandes, Mariia V. Pavliuk, Jakub Szlachetko, Leticia González, and Jacinto Sá

The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters 2017, 8, 805-811.

DOI: 10.1021/acs.jpclett.7b00070

University of Vienna

Related Dna Articles:

Zigzag DNA
How the cell organizes DNA into tightly packed chromosomes. Nature publication by Delft University of Technology and EMBL Heidelberg.
Scientists now know what DNA's chaperone looks like
Researchers have discovered the structure of the FACT protein -- a mysterious protein central to the functioning of DNA.
DNA is like everything else: it's not what you have, but how you use it
A new paradigm for reading out genetic information in DNA is described by Dr.
A new spin on DNA
For decades, researchers have chased ways to study biological machines.
From face to DNA: New method aims to improve match between DNA sample and face database
Predicting what someone's face looks like based on a DNA sample remains a hard nut to crack for science.
Self-healing DNA nanostructures
DNA assembled into nanostructures such as tubes and origami-inspired shapes could someday find applications ranging from DNA computers to nanomedicine.
DNA design that anyone can do
Researchers at MIT and Arizona State University have designed a computer program that allows users to translate any free-form drawing into a two-dimensional, nanoscale structure made of DNA.
DNA find
A Queensland University of Technology-led collaboration with University of Adelaide reveals that Australia's pint-sized banded hare-wallaby is the closest living relative of the giant short-faced kangaroos which roamed the continent for millions of years, but died out about 40,000 years ago.
DNA structure impacts rate and accuracy of DNA synthesis
DNA sequences with the potential to form unusual conformations, which are frequently associated with cancer and neurological diseases, can in fact slow down or speed up the DNA synthesis process and cause more or fewer sequencing errors.
Changes in mitochondrial DNA control how nuclear DNA mutations are expressed in cardiomyopathy
Differences in the DNA within the mitochondria, the energy-producing structures within cells, can determine the severity and progression of heart disease caused by a nuclear DNA mutation.
More DNA News and DNA Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Processing The Pandemic
Between the pandemic and America's reckoning with racism and police brutality, many of us are anxious, angry, and depressed. This hour, TED Fellow and writer Laurel Braitman helps us process it all.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#568 Poker Face Psychology
Anyone who's seen pop culture depictions of poker might think statistics and math is the only way to get ahead. But no, there's psychology too. Author Maria Konnikova took her Ph.D. in psychology to the poker table, and turned out to be good. So good, she went pro in poker, and learned all about her own biases on the way. We're talking about her new book "The Biggest Bluff: How I Learned to Pay Attention, Master Myself, and Win".
Now Playing: Radiolab

Invisible Allies
As scientists have been scrambling to find new and better ways to treat covid-19, they've come across some unexpected allies. Invisible and primordial, these protectors have been with us all along. And they just might help us to better weather this viral storm. To kick things off, we travel through time from a homeless shelter to a military hospital, pondering the pandemic-fighting power of the sun. And then, we dive deep into the periodic table to look at how a simple element might actually be a microbe's biggest foe. This episode was reported by Simon Adler and Molly Webster, and produced by Annie McEwen and Pat Walters. Support Radiolab today at Radiolab.org/donate.