DNA binding of dinuclear iron(II) metallosupramolecular cylinders. DNA unwinding and sequence preference
[Fe(2)eL(3)](4+) (L = C25H20N4) is a synthetic tetracationic supramolecular cylinder (with a triple helical architecture) that targets the major groove of DNA and can bind to DNA Y-shaped junctions. To explore the DNA-binding mode of [Fe2L3](4+), we examine herein the interactions of pure enantiomers of this cylinder with DNA by biochemical and molecular biology methods. The results have revealed that, in addition to the previously reported bending of DNA, the enantiomers extensively unwind DNA, with the M enantiomer being the more efficient at unwinding, and exhibit preferential binding to regular alternating purinepyrimidine sequences, with the M enantiomer showing a greater preference. Also, interestingly, the DNA binding of bulky cylinders [Fe-2(L-CF3)(3)](4+) and [Fe-2(L-Ph)(3)](4+) results in no DNA unwinding and also no sequence preference of their DNA binding was observed. The observation of sequence-preference in the binding of these supramolecular cylinders suggests that a concept based on the use of metallosupramolecular cylinders might result in molecular designs that recognize the genetic code in a sequence-dependent manner with a potential ability to affect the processing of the genetic code.