The Benzyl Moiety in a Quinoxaline-Based Scaffold Acts as a DNA Intercalation Switch

Tridib Mahata, Ajay Kanungo, Sudakshina Ganguly, Eswar Kalyan Modugula, Susobhan Choudhury, Samir Kumar Pal, Gautam Basu*, Sanjay Dutta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7733-7736
Number of pages4
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number27
StatePublished - 27 Jun 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • DNA
  • circular dichroism
  • fluorescence
  • heterocycles
  • intercalations


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