Molecular Dynamics of Anthraquinone DNA Intercalators with Polyethylene Glycol Side Chains

The interactions of a homologous series of four anthraquinone (AQ) intercalators with increasing lengths of polyethylene glycol (PEG) side chains with DNA have been studied via molecular dynamics (MD) simulations. The geometry, conformation, interactions, and hydration of the complexes were examined. The geometries of the four ligands were similar with parallel stacking to the long axis of the adjacent DNA base pairs. Hydrogen bonding between the AQ amide and DNA led to a preference for the trans-syn conformer. As the side chain lengthened, binding to DNA reduced the conformational space, resulting in an increase in unfavorable entropy. Increased localization of the PEG side chain in the DNA groove, indicating some interaction of the side chain with DNA, also contributed unfavorably to the entropy. The changes in free energy of binding due to entropic considerations (-3.9 to -6.3 kcal/mol) of AQ I-IV were significant. The hydration of the PEG side chain decreased upon binding to DNA. Understanding of side chain conformations, interactions, and hydration changes that accompany the formation of a ligand-DNA complex may be important in the development of new applications of pegylated small molecules that target biological macromolecules.

This article can be cited as:
S.J. Beckford, D.W. Dixon, Molecular Dynamics of Anthraquinone DNA Intercalators with Polyethylene Glycol Side Chains J. Biomol Struct Dyn 29(5), 1065-1080 (2012).

Shirlene Jackson Beckford
Dabney W. Dixon*

Department of Chemistry Georgia State University, Atlanta, Georgia 30302-4098

*Corresponding author: Dr. Dabney W. Dixon Phone: 404-413-5508 Fax: 404-413-5505 E-mail: ddixon@gsu.edu

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