Biochemical Journal

Differential effects of distamycin analogues on amplification of human gene sequences by polymerase-chain reaction

M Passadore, N Bianchi, G Feriotto, C Mischiati, P Giacomini, R Piva, R Gambari


In this report we analyse the effects of distamycin and five distamycin analogues on amplification by polymerase-chain reaction (PCR) of two gene sequences displaying a different A+T/G+C content. The first was a 5′ region of the human oestrogen receptor (ER) gene, containing a (TA)26 stretch; the second was a CG-rich sequence of the human Ha-ras oncogene. The results obtained unequivocally demonstrate that the addition of one pyrrole ring significantly improves the ability of distamycin derivatives to interfere with PCR-mediated amplification of the human ER genomic region carrying a (TA)26 stretch. The distamycin analogues analysed differ in the number of pyrrole rings and in the presence of an N-formyl, an N-formimidoyl or a retroamide group at position X1. Among compounds carrying the same number of pyrrole rings, those carrying an N-formyl or an N-formimidoyl group retain a similar inhibitory activity. The retroamide analogues, on the contrary, are much less efficient in inhibiting PCR-mediated amplification of the 5′ER region. With respect to sequence selectivity both distamycin and distamycin analogues exhibit a sequence preference, since they do not inhibit PCR amplification of Ha-ras CG-rich gene regions, with the exception of a distamycin analogue carrying four pyrrole rings.