We evaluated the efficacy of bioconjugation of oligodeoxynucleotides (ODNs) containing 1,4-dicarbonyl groups, a C4′-oxidized abasic site (OAS), and a newly designed 2′-methoxy analogue, via reductive amination with lysine residues. Dicarbonyls, aldehyde and ketone at C1- and C4-positions of deoxyribose in the ring-opened form of OAS allowed efficient reaction with amines. Kinetic studies indicated that reductive amination of OAS-containing ODNs with a proximal amine on the complementary strand proceeded 10 times faster than the corresponding reaction of an ODN containing an abasic site with C1-aldehyde. Efficient reductive amination between the DNA-binding domain of Escherichia coli DnaA protein and ODNs carrying OAS in the DnaA-binding sequence proceeded at the lysine residue in proximity to the phosphate group at the 5′-position of the OAS, in contrast to unsuccessful conjugation with abasic site ODNs, even though they have similar aldehydes. Theoretical calculation indicated that the C1-aldehyde of OAS was more accessible to the target lysine than that of the abasic site. These results demonstrate the potential utility of cross-linking strategies that use dicarbonyl-containing ODNs for the study of protein-nucleic acid interactions. Conjugation with a lysine-containing peptide that lacked specific affinity for ODN was also successful, further highlighting the advantages of 1,4-dicarbonyls.
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