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The crystal structure of the DNA hexamer d(TGATCA) complexed with the anthracycline antibiotic idarubicin has been determined at 1.6 A resolution. The asymmetric unit consists of a single hexamer oligonucleotide strand, one drug molecule and 35 water molecules. The complex crystallizes in the tetragonal space group P4(1)2(1)2, Z = 8 with lattice dimensions of a = b = 28.19 (3), c = 52.77 (4) A, V = 41 935 A(3). The structure is isomorphous with a series of hexamer-anthracycline complexes and was solved by molecular replacement. Restrained least-squares methods interspersed with computer-graphics map inspection and model manipulation were used to refine the structure. The R factor is 0.22 for 2032 reflections with F >/= 3sigma(F) in the resolution range 8.0-1.6 A. The self-complementary DNA forms a distorted B-DNA double helix with two idarubicin molecules intercalated in the d(TpG) steps of the duplex. The duplex is formed by utilization of a crystallographic twofold axis of symmetry. The idarubicin chromophore is oriented at right angles to the long axis of the DNA base pairs with the anthracycline amino-sugar moiety positioned in the minor groove. Our structure determination allows for comparison with a d(CGATCG)-idarubicin complex recently reported. Despite the sequence alteration at the intercalation step, the structures are very similar. The geometry of the intercalation and the nature of the interactions are conserved irrespective of the DNA sequence involved in the binding.

Original publication




Journal article


Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr

Publication Date





311 - 317