Identification of a DNA structure that opens the way to the development of new pharmacological agents

The drug locates into the centre of the DNA structure

The drug locates into the centre of the DNA structure


The study is presented on the cover of the leading chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie

The team led by the IRB Barcelona researcher Professor Miquel Coll has discovered a DNA structure that could become a new therapeutic target in the treatment of tumours and other diseases.

The group has described a new form of interaction between drugs and DNA that opens the way for the development of anti-DNA therapeutic agents. This research is presented on the cover page of Wednesday’s issue of the top chemistry journal Angewandte Chemie. The study has performed in collaboration with Mike Hannon’s group at the University of Birmingham (UK).

The group led by Miquel Coll reports a new form of interaction between drugs and DNA

First, the researchers in Birmingham developed a synthetic molecule with a three-face prism structure, and then the Barcelona team observed how this drug bound to DNA and how it fitted perfectly into the centre of the three-way junction. The researchers came up with an unprecedented mode of drug binding to DNA.

DNA junctions are unique structures that consist of several double strands that converge at one point. In DNA, the three-way junctions are involved in DNA replication and have been observed in several forms of cancer and other diseases such as myotonic dystrophy and Huntington’s disease. Consequently, the capacity to recognize a specific unusual DNA structure is an attractive alternative for gaining specificity in the design of novel and highly specific drugs.