Quinoxaline antibiotics intercalate dsDNA and exhibit antitumor properties. However, they are difficult to synthesize and their structural complexity impedes a clear mechanistic understanding of DNA binding. Therefore design and synthesis of minimal-intercalators, using only part of the antibiotic scaffold so as to retain the key DNA-binding property, is extremely important. Reported is a unique example of a monomeric quinoxaline derivative of a 6-nitroquinoxaline-2,3-diamine scaffold which binds dsDNA by two different modes. While benzyl derivatives bound DNA in a sequential fashion, with intercalation as the second event, nonbenzyl derivatives showed only the first binding event. The benzyl intercalation switch provides important insights about molecular architecture which control specific DNA binding modes and would be useful in designing functionally important monomeric quinoxaline DNA binders and benchmarking molecular simulations.
- circular dichroism