A versatile solid-phase approach based on peptide chemistry was used to construct four classes of structurally diverse polyamines with modified backbones: linear, partially constrained, branched, and cyclic. Their effects on DNA duplex stability and structure were examined. The polyamines showed distinct activities, thus highlighting the importance of polyamine backbone structure. Interestingly, the rank order of polyamine ability for DNA compaction was different to that for their effects on circular dichroism and melting temperature, thus indicating that these polyamines have distinct effects on secondary and higher-order structures of DNA.
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