|The thesis entitled “Design and Synthesis of Benzimidazole Based Templates in Duplex and Quadruplex DNA Recognition and in Topoisomerase Inhibition” deals with the design and synthesis of several benzimidazole based molecules and their interaction with duplex and quadruplex DNA structures. It also elucidates the inhibition effect of the compounds on the activity of topoisomerase I enzyme of parasitic pathogen Leishmania donovani. The work has been divided into five chapters.
Chapter 1: An Introduction to DNA and its Interaction with Small molecules.
The first chapter provides an introduction to the double helical structure of DNA and the central dogma that suggests the flow of genetic information from DNA to RNA to protein. This chapter also presents an overview on the various types of small molecules that interact with duplex and quadruplex structures of DNA or interfere with the activity of DNA targeted enzymes like topoisomerase. This chapter describes the importance of such molecules as chemotherapeutic agents.
Chapter 2 deals with three isomeric, symmetrical bisbenzimidazole derivatives bearing pyridine on the two termini. The syntheses, duplex DNA binding and computational structure analyses of the molecules have been divided into two sections.
Chapter 2A: Novel Symmetrical Pyridine Derivatized Bisbenzimidazoles: Synthesis and Unique Metal Ion Mediated Tunable DNA Minor Groove Binding.
The first chapter deals with the synthesis and double stranded (ds) DNA binding characteristics of the three bisbenzimidazole derivatives. Despite being positional isomers, their relative binding affinities towards ds-DNA varied considerably. Fluorescence, circular dichroism and temperature dependent UV-absorption spectroscopy have been employed to characterize ligand-DNA binding interaction. All spectroscopic studies revealed the strong A-T selective DNA binding affinities of the p- and m-pyridine derivatized molecules (p-pyben and m-pyben respectively) and indicated dramatically weak binding interaction of the ortho derivative (o-pyben) to ds-DNA. Additionally, unique transition metal ion mediated tunable DNA binding shown by o-pyben has been described in this chapter. While the ds-DNA binding characteristics of p- and m-pyben remained unaffected in presence of metal ions, that of o-pyben could be reversibly ‘switched off’ in the presence of divalent transition metal ions like Co2+, Ni2+, and Cu2+. Addition of EDTA reversed the effects and DNA binding was again observed. This interesting observation provides valuable insight into the DNA recognition property of these isomeric bisbenzimidazole derivatives.
Figure 1. Molecular structures of pyridine derivatized symmetrical bisbenzimidazoles.
Chapter 2B: Differential Binding of Positional Isomers of Symmetric Bisbenzimidazoles on DNA Minor-Groove: A Computational study.
To explain the weak DNA binding affinity of o-pyben, compared to p- or m-pyben, detailed ab initio/DFT computational analyses of the inherent structural features of the three isomers were performed both in the gas-phase and in water. The study revealed the
presence of intramolecular hydrogen bond existing in the opyben, between the benzimidazole proton (H3) and the pyridine nitrogen (N1).
Additionally, potential energy scans for rotation about the bonds connecting the pyridine-benzimidazole and benzimidazole-benzimidazole fragments were performed.
This revealed surprising conformational rigidity existing in the o- isomer that resisted any out-of-plane twisting of the pyridine-benzimidazole fragment. The presence of intramolecular H-bonding was further confirmed by experimental determination of pKa of the three isomers. The molecules being bisbenzimidazole derivatives bound to the minor groove of ds-DNA, the benzimidazole protons forming hydrogen bonded interactions with the DNA bases. However in the o- derivative, the intramolecular hydrogen bonding made the crucial benzimidazole protons unavailable for DNA binding thereby leading to its poor interaction with DNA.
Chapter 3. Novel Series of Anthra[1,2-d]imidazole-6,11-dione Derivatives: Synthesis, DNA Binding and Inhibition of Topoisomerase I of Leishmania donovani
This chapter describes the synthesis of nine imidazole fused anthraquinone derivatives and their interaction with double-stranded DNA, investigated by UV-visible absorption spectroscopy and viscometric titrations.
Figure 2. Molecular structures of the imidazole fused anthraquinone derivatives.
All the molecules showed intercalative mode of binding to double stranded DNA, though their relative binding affinities were different. Next their inhibitory effects on the catalytic activity of topoisomerase I enzyme of Leismania donovani were investigated. L. donovani is the causative agent for human visceral leishmaniasis; a fatal disease affecting liver and spleen. Five out of the nine derivatives tested, proved to be extremely efficient inhibitors of the enzyme. Of them, three showed greater inhibition potency than camptothecin, a well-established topoisomerase I inhibitor and the precursor for several clinically useful anti-tumor drugs. The molecules were shown to inhibit by the stabilization of enzyme-DNA cleavable complex, and the inhibition efficiency was found to be highly dependent on the pKa of the side-chain nitrogen. These results provide useful insights towards developing more potent inhibitors of the parasitic enzyme. As the compounds are synthetically facile, chemically stable and possess long shelf life, they should be attractive candidates for design of novel family of topoisomerase I inhibitor. Indeed the nature of amine based side chain and its pKa would hold the key in such design.
Chapter 4 deals with a series of symmetrical bisbenzimidazole derivatives in which the benzimidazole units have been connected via different aromatic linkers. The syntheses, duplex DNA interaction, topoisomerase inhibition and quadruplex DNA stabilization shown by these four molecules have been divided into two sections.
Chapter 4A. Synthesis, Duplex DNA Binding and Topoisomerase I Inhibition by Symmetrical Bisbenzimidazole Derivatives with Aromatic Linkers.
This chapter describes the synthesis of four symmetrical bisbenzimidazole derivatives bearing aromatic linkers, phenyl, naphthyl or anthryl between the benzimidazole rings. Next their interaction with duplex DNA was investigated using fluorescence and temperature dependent UV absorption spectroscopy and viscometric titration techniques. Addition of DNA caused fluorescence enhancement of the molecules implying their interaction with duplex DNA. All the four molecules on binding to double helical DNA induced thermal stabilization of the latter. Viscometric titration of calf thymus DNA with the four compounds revealed a partial-intercalative mode of binding for the anthracene derivatized molecule 4. Next, their inhibitory effects on the catalytic activity of topoisomerase I enzyme were studied. The anthracene derivatized compound (4) showed high inhibition of the enzyme catalyzed relaxation of supercoiled plasmid DNA. Naphthalene derivatized compound (3) exhibited weak inhibition whereas the derivatives bearing 1,4- and 1,3-disubstitued benzene (1 and 2 respectively) units showed no inhibition.
Figure 3. Molecular structures of the symmetrical bisbenzimidazole derivatives.
Chapter 4B. Quadruplex DNA Stabilization by Symmetrical Bisbenzimidazole Derivatives with Aromatic Linkers.
The ability of the aforementioned molecules to stabilize G-quadruplex structures was investigated next. DNA quadruplex secondary structures are potential molecular targets for new generation chemotherapeutic drugs; hence there is an impetus in developing quadruplex targeting molecules. The Tetrahymena thermophilia telomeric sequence 5´-(T2G4)4-3´ was selected for the studies as it exhibits interesting structural polymorphism depending on whether quadruplex formation occurs in presence of Na+ or K+. Circular dichroism and fluorescence anisotropy techniques were used to study the interaction of these newly synthesized molecules with quadruplex DNA. Also thermal stabilization of quadruplex structure induced by the molecules was determined by temperature dependent UV absorption studies. The compounds 1, 3 and 4 stabilized Na+ induced quadruplex without causing any structural alterations of the latter. However, the m-phenyl linker bearing molecule 2, above a certain [ligand]/[DNA] concentration ratio, caused uniquestructural alteration of the Na+ induced quadruplex such that the CD-signature of the latter resembled that of a K+ induced quadruplex structure. This result was corroborated by quadruplex thermal melting data and fluorescence anisotropy. Interestingly this ligand was also able to induce secondary structure formation in randomly oriented ss-DNA, akin to K+ induced quadruplex structure, even in the absence of Na+ or K+.
Chapter 5. Synthesis and DNA Binding of Novel Biscationic Dimers of Bisbenzimidazole Systems.
This chapter describes the design, synthesis and ds-DNA binding properties of four dicationic dimers of bisbenzimidazoles. Targeting long base pair sequences in double helical DNA is a key issue in chemical biology and connecting different DNA binding modules by appropriate linkers is an attractive strategy for achieving the same. The precursor monomer unit was a bisbenzimidazole derivative and an analogue of Hoechst 33258. Two such moieties were connected via bisoxyethylenic or 6- or 3-methylenic or piperazinyl units to achieve linker of varying length, rigidity and hydrophilicity.
To study the interaction of the dimers with duplex DNA, fluorescence and circular dichroism spectroscopy were used. Two of the dimers, (bbim-2ox-bbim and bbim-6met-bbim) bearing long flexible spacers, were able to target 13-AT base pairs long oligonucleotide sequences in a 1:1 binding mode with an affinity 8-10 times better than the precursor monomer or Hoechst 33258. Also thermal denaturation experiments showed high duplex stabilization induced by the same two dimers. All studies indicated a bidentate mode of binding where both the arms of the dimers participated in DNA binding. The molecules bearing the short and rigid linkers (bbim-3met-bbim and bbimpiper-
bbim) on the other hand showed low binding affinity towards duplex DNA, as indicated by fluorescence, circular dichroism and thermal melting studies. The short linkers probably did not favor simultaneous binding of both the monomeric arms of the dimers to DNA minor groove. The work reported in this chapter indicates the strong influence of the length and nature of linker in determining drug/DNA binding affinity.
Figure 4. Molecular structures of dicationic dimeric bisbenzimidazole derivatives.(Refer PDF File)