Committee ChairYang, Danzhou
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PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractDNA is both the oldest and newest of targets for cancer therapy. While it is already being targeted by many anticancer drugs in the clinic, the development of sequence-specific DNA binders has brought it back to the limelight as a valuable anticancer drug target.My studies on DNA interacting agents was initiated with the DNA intercalator campotothecin, and also included topoisomerase I enzyme. I have evaluated the structure of topoisomerase I C-terminal domain that consists of the active site tyrosine. My data indicate that this domain exists in a molten globule conformation with a fluctuating tertiary structure. These fluctuations are suggested to be important in interaction with the topoisomerase I core domain and DNA. I have also evaluated the DNA interactions of the camptothecin analogue homocamptothecin and have determined that homocamptothecin intercalate with DNA in the absence of topoisomerase I, and that such intercalation results in its lactone stabilization. Subsequently, the mechanism of topoisomerase I mediated inhibition of HIF-1 by camptothecin was explored. I have shown that camptothecin stimulate topoisomerase I cleavage complex formation in the HIF-1 binding site, which is suggested to prevent the DNA binding of HIF-1.The second part of this study was focused on understanding the mechanism of action of another DNA binder, XR5944. Designed as a dual topoisomerase inhibitor, XR5944 was subsequently shown to have a different mechanism of action - inhibition of trancription. The NMR structural analysis, in our lab, of the drug-DNA complex showed that XR5944 bis-intercalate with DNA, while binding in the DNA major groove. Driven by these combined interaction modes, XR5944 is shown to inhibit the DNA binding and the subsequent transcriptional activity of specific transcription factors such as estrogen receptors and AP-1, which are overexpressed in certain cancers.Finally, I have analyzed G-quadruplex structures formed by telomeric DNA. The formation and stabilization of DNA G-quadruplexes in the human telomeric sequence have been shown to inhibit the activity of telomerase. Thus the telomeric DNA G-quadruplex has been considered as an attractive anticancer drug target. Telomeric DNA forms multiple G-quadruplex conformations, and my data reveal the conformations of the major G-quadruplexes formed by human telomeres.
Degree ProgramPharmaceutical Sciences