Synthesis of triplex-forming oligonucleotide conjugates of the anticancer drug temodal

  • Andrew J. Walsh

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Covalent attachment of the anticancer drugs temozolomide (Temodal) and mitozolomide to triplex-forming oligonucleotides (TFOs) is a potential way of targeting these alkylating agents to specific gene sequences to maximise site-selectivity. In this work, polypyrimidine TFO conjugates of both drugs were synthesised and targeted to duplex DNA in an attempt to effect site-specific alkylation of guanine residues. Concurrently, in an attempt to enhance the triple helix stability of TFOs at neutral pH, the thermal stabilities of triplexes formed from TFOs containing isoguanine, 2-O-benzyl- and 2-O-allyl-adenine were evaluated.
A novel cleavage and deprotection procedure was developed which allowed for the solid phase synthesis of the base-sensitive TFO-drug conjugates using a recently developed silyl-linked controlled pore glass (SLCPG) support. Covalent attachment of either temozolomide or mitozolomide at the 5'-end of TFO conjugates caused no destabilisation of the triplexes studied. The synthesis of a phosphoramidite derivative of mitozolomide enabled direct incorporation of this reagent into a model sequence during DNA synthesis. After cleavage and deprotection of the TFO-drug conjugate, the 5'-end mitozolomide residue was found to have decomposed presumably as a result of ring-opening of the tetrazinone ring. The base-sensitive antibacterial and antitumour agent, metronidazole, was also successfully incorporated at the 5'-end of the oligonucleotide d(T8) using conventional methods.
Two C2-substituted derivatives of 2'-deoxyadenosine containing 2-O-benzyl and 2-O-allyl groups were synthesised. Hydrogenolysis of the 2-O-benzyl analogue provided a useful route, amenable to scale-up, for the synthesis of the rare nucleoside 2'-deoxyisoguanosine (isoG). Both the 2-O-allyl and 2-O-benzyl derivatives were incorporated into TFO sequences using phosphoramidite methodology. Thermal melting experiments showed that the 2-O-allyl and 2-O-benzyl groups caused marked destabilisation of the triple helices studied, in contrast to hexose-DNA duplexes, where aralkyl substituents caused significant stabilisation of duplexes. TFOs containing isoG were synthesised by Pd(O)-catalysed deallylation of 2-0-allyl adenine residues. These sequences containing isoG, in its N3- or 02-H tautomeric form, formed triple helices which were equally as stable as those containing adenine.

Date of AwardMar 1999
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorWilliam Fraser (Supervisor)


  • nucleoside
  • imidazotetrazione
  • triplex
  • conjugate
  • isoguanine

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