Inhibition of transcription by platinated triplex-forming oligonucleotides

Mindy K. Graham, Paul S. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Platinated triplex-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) consisting of 2′-methoxythymidine and 2′-methoxy-5-methylcytidine and an N-7 platinated deoxyguanosine (PtG) at the 5′-(PtG-TFO), 3′-(TFO-GPt), or 3′- and 5′-(PtG-TFO- GPt) ends of the TFO form mono-(PtG-TFO and TFO-G Pt) and interstrand (PtG-TFO-GPt) cross-links with target DNA as a result of reaction of the PtG with guanines adjacent to the homopurine TFO binding site in the target. The extent of cross-linking is greatest when the PtG is located on the 3′ end of the TFO and the target guanine is on the same strand as the TFO binding site. Multiple, contiguous deoxyguanosines in the TFO binding site or a cytosine adjacent to the GPt of the TFO significantly reduce cross-linking. DNA reporter plasmids in which platinated TFOs were cross-linked at a site in the transcribed region between a CMV promoter and a luciferase reporter gene were transfected into Chinese hamster ovary cells, and luciferase expression was compared with that for the corresponding non-cross-linked plasmid. Luciferase expression was inhibited 95 % when TFO-GPt was bound and cross-linked to the transcribed strand, demonstrating that the cross-linked TFO was able to block transcription elongation. Further inhibition (99 %) was observed in nucleotide excision repair (NER) deficient cells, suggesting that NER may repair this lesion. The 3′-GPt group of TFO-GPt protects the TFO from degradation by exonucleases found in mammalian serum. Taken together, these results suggest that platinated TFOs of the type TFO-G Pt may find applications as agents for suppressing DNA transcription and consequently inhibiting gene expression in mammalian cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1197-1208
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Biological Inorganic Chemistry
Issue number8
StatePublished - Dec 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Cross-link
  • Platinum
  • Transcription
  • Triplex-forming oligonucleotide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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