Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 16354702
Mol. Cell. Biol. 2006 Jan;26(1):324-33
Topoisomerase I is a ubiquitous DNA-cleaving enzyme and an important therapeutic target in cancer chemotherapy for camptothecins (CPTs). These drugs stimulate DNA cleavage by topoisomerase I but exhibit little sequence preference, inducing toxicity and side effects. A convenient strategy to confer sequence specificity consists of the linkage of topoisomerase poisons to DNA sequence recognition elements. In this context, triple-helix-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) covalently linked to CPTs were investigated for the capacity to direct topoisomerase I-mediated DNA cleavage in cells. In the first part of our study, we showed that these optimized conjugates were able to regulate gene expression in cells upon the use of a Photinus pyralis luciferase reporter gene system. Furthermore, the formation of covalent topoisomerase I/DNA complexes by the TFO-CPT conjugates was detected in cell nuclei. In the second part, we elucidated the molecular specificity of topoisomerase I cleavage by the conjugates by using modified DNA targets and in vitro cleavage assays. Mutations either in the triplex site or in the DNA duplex receptor are not tolerated; such DNA modifications completely abolished conjugate-induced cleavage all along the DNA. These results indicate that these conjugates may be further developed to improve chemotherapeutic cancer treatments by targeting topoisomerase I-induced DNA cleavage to appropriately chosen genes.