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Discovery of selective ligands for telomeric RNA G-quadruplexes (TERRA) through 19F-NMR based fragment screening.

Authors: Miguel M. Garavís, Blanca B. López-Méndez, Alvaro A. Somoza, Julen J. Oyarzabal, Claudio C. Dalvit, Alfredo A. Villasante, Ramón R. Campos-Olivas, Carlos C. González
Published: 05/28/2014, ACS chemical biology


Telomeric repeat-containing RNA (TERRA) is a novel and very attractive antitumoral target. Here, we report the first successful application of (19)F-NMR fragment-based screening to identify chemically diverse compounds that bind to an RNA molecule such as TERRA. We have built a library of 355 fluorinated fragments, and checked their interaction with a long telomeric RNA as a target molecule. The screening resulted in the identification of 20 hits (hit rate of 5.6%). For a number of binders, their interaction with TERRA was confirmed by (19)F- and (1)H NMR as well as by CD melting experiments. We have also explored the selectivity of the ligands for RNA G-quadruplexes and found that some of the hits do not interact with other nucleic acids such as tRNA and duplex DNA and, most importantly, favor the propeller-like parallel conformation in telomeric DNA G-quadruplexes. This suggests a selective recognition of this particular quadruplex topology and that different ligands may recognize specific sites in propeller-like parallel G-quadruplexes. Such features make some of the resulting binders promising lead compounds for fragment based drug discovery.

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