Antitumour imidazotetrazines: probes for the major groove of DNA

  • Alan S. Clark

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The antitumour imidazotetrazinones are believed to act as prodrugs for the
triazene series of alkylating agents, showing a marked pteference for the alkylation of the middle guanine residue in a run of three or more contiguous guanines. However, the. exact nature of the interactions of imidazotetrazinones within the micro~environment of DNA are; as
yet unknown. In order to examine such interactions a three pronged approach involving molecular modelling, synthetic chemistry and biological analysis has been undertaken during the course of this project. .
Molecular modelling studies have shown that for the 8-carboxamido
substituted imidazotetrazinones antitumour activity is dependent upon the. presence of a free NH group which can be involved in the formation of both intramolecular and intermolecular hydrogen bonds, and the presence of a non-bulky substituent with a small negative potential .
volume. Modelling studies involving the docking of .mitozolomide into the major groove of DNA in the region of a triguanine sequence has shown that a number of hydrogen bonding interactions are feasible.
A series of 8-substituted carboxamide derivatives of mitozolomide have been synthesised via the 8-acid chloride and 8-carboxylic acid derivatives including a number of peptide analogues. The peptide derivatives were based upon the key structural features of the helix-turn-helix motif of DNA-binding proteins with a view to developing agents that are capable of binding to DNA with greater selectivity. An examination of the importance of intramolecular hydrogen bonding in influencing the antitumour activity:of :the imidazotetrazinones has led to the synthesis of the novel pyrimido[4',5' :4,3]pyrazolo[5,1-d]-1,2,3,5-tetrazine ring system. In general, in vitro cytotoxicity assays showed that the new
derivatives were less active against the TLX5 lymphoma cell line. than the parent compound mitozolomide despite an increased potential for hydrogen bonding interactions.
Due to the high reactivity of the: tetrazinone ring system it is difficult to study the interactions between the imidazotetrazinones and DNA. Consequently a number of structural analogues that are stable under physiological conditions have been. prepared based upon the 1,2,3 triazin-4(3H)-one ring system fused with both benzene and pyrazole rings.
Although the 3-methylbenzotriazinones failed to antagonise the cytotoxic activity of temozolomide encouraging results with a 3-methylpyrazolotriazinone may suggest the existence of an imidazotetrazinone receptor site within DNA.
The potential of guanine rich sequences to promote the alkylating selectivity of imidazotetrazinones by acting as a catalyst for ring cleavage and thereby generation of the alkylating agent was examined. Experiments involving the monitoring: of the rate of breakdown of mitozolomide incubated in the presence of synthetic oIigonucleotides did not reveal any catalytic effect resulting from the DNA. However, it was noted that the
breakdown of mitozolomide was dependent upon the type of buffer used in the incubations and this may indeed mask any catalysis by the oligonucleotides.
Date of AwardDec 1991
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorMalcolm F.G. Stevens (Supervisor)


  • imidazotetrazinones
  • triazenes
  • triazines
  • sequence-specific
  • alkylating agents

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