The anthracenone ligands (1–12) with a keto-phenol and a hydroxamic acid unit were synthesized and evaluated by a restriction enzyme inhibition assay. DNA substrates composed of multiple CGCG or CGG sites are fully hydrolyzed by a restriction enzyme that is selective for each sequence. Under such conditions, the full-length DNA substrate remains only when the ligand binds to all binding sites and protects it from hydrolysis by the restriction enzymes. In the assay using AccII and the 50-mer DNA substrates containing a different number of CGCG sites at different non-binding AT base pair intervals, the more the CGCG sites, the more the full-length DNA increased. Namely, simultaneous binding of the ligand (5) to the CGCG sites increased in the order of (CGCG)5>(CGCG)2>(CGCG)1. Furthermore, the length of the spacer of the hydroxamic acid to the anthracenone skeleton played an important role in the preference for the number of the d(A/T) base pairs between the CGCG sites. The long spacer-ligand (5) showed a preference to the CGCG sites with five AT pairs, and the short spacer-ligand (10) to that with two AT pairs. The ligand (12) with the shortest spacer showed a preference in simultaneous binding to the 54-mer DNA composed of 16 continuous CGG sites in the assay using the restriction enzyme Fnu4HI that hydrolyzes the d(GCGGC)/d(CGCCG) site. Application of these ligands to biological systems including the repeat DNA sequence should be of significant interest.
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