Triple helix–forming oligonucleotides conjugated to a psoralen (psoTFO) have been designed to bind to three distinct purine-rich sequences within the human interstitial collagenase (MMP1) gene. Gel mobility shift assays indicate that these psoTFO bind to and photoreact with model target DNA sequences following ultraviolet A (UVA) irradiation. The dissociation constants for binding of the psoTFO to their targets range from 0.3 to 4 μM. Psoralen monoadducts with the purine-rich target strand and interstrand crosslinks are efficiently formed on targets containing either 5′-ApT-3′ or 5′-TpA-3′ sequences adjacent to the TFO binding sequence. The dependence of adduct formation on UVA dose has provided quantitative estimates of the overall rate constants for psoralen monoadduct and crosslink formation in the presence of a TFO. When psoralen is tethered to a TFO, the rate of monoadduct formation exceeds that of crosslinking for all sequences studied. This contrasts with the relatively low rate of monoadduct formation that has been reported for free psoralens, suggesting that the bound TFO facilitates the initial photochemistry that generates monoadducts, but does not significantly affect interstrand crosslink formation. psoTFO and UVA treatment inhibit DNA cleavage by a restriction endonuclease when the psoralen covalently reacts directly at the endonuclease site. The particular TFO studied do not completely inhibit endonuclease activity when they are noncovalently bound or when the covalent psoralen adduct does not coincide with the endonuclease site. Our findings confirm that TFO are capable of directing psoralen photoadducts to specific DNA targets and suggest that TFO can significantly modulate psoralen photoreactivity and DNA–protein interactions.
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Vol. 72 • No. 3