A water-soluble cationic porphyrin, 5,10,15,20-tetrakis(N-methylpyridinium- 4-yl)-21H,23H-porphyrin (TmPyP4), has been studied extensively because of its unique physicochemical properties that lead to interactions with nucleic acids, as well as its therapeutic application. Formation of a complex between TmPyP4 and parallel G-quadruplex DNA formed from a single repeat sequence of the human telomere, d(TTAGGG), has been characterized in an effort to elucidate the mode of molecular recognition between TmPyP4 and the DNA. The study demonstrated that TmPyP4 intercalates into the A3pG4 step of [d(TTAGGG)]4 with an association constant of 6.2 × 106 M-1 and a stoichiometric ratio of 1:1. The binding of TmPyP4 to the A3pG4 step of [d(TTAGGG)]4 was found to be stabilized by the π-π stacking interaction of the porphyrin ring of TmPyP4 with the G4 quartet as well as the A3 bases of the G-quadruplex DNA. These findings provide novel insights for the design of porphyrin derivatives that bind to DNA with high affinity and specificity.
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