Mechanistic Investigation of Site-specific DNA Methylating Agents Targeting Breast Cancer Cells.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

We previously described the development of a DNA-alkylating compound that showed selective toxicity in breast cancer cells. This compound contained an estrogen receptor α (ERα)-binding ligand and a DNA-binding/methylating component that could selectively methylate the N3-position of adenines at adenine-thymine rich regions of DNA. Herein, we describe mechanistic investigations that demonstrate that this class of compounds facilitate the translocation of the ERα-compound complex to the nucleus and induce the expression of ERα target genes. We confirm that the compounds show selective toxicity in ERα-expressing cells, induce ERα localization in the nucleus, and verify the essential role of ERα in modulating the toxicity. Minor alterations in the compound structure significantly affects the DNA binding ability, which correlates to the DNA-methylating ability. These studies demonstrate the utility of DNA-alkylating compounds to accomplish targeted inhibition of the growth of specific cancer cells; an approach that may overcome shortcomings of currently used chemotherapy agents.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Lowder, LL; Powell, M; Miller, SE; Kishton, RJ; Kelly, CB; Cribb, CB; Mastro-Kishton, K; Chelvanambi, M; Do, PT; Govindapur, RR; Wardell, SE; McDonnell, DP; Bartolotti, LJ; Akkaraju, GR; Frampton, AR; Varadarajan, S

Published Date

  • September 9, 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 64 / 17

Start / End Page

  • 12651 - 12669

PubMed ID

  • 34415160

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1520-4804

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1021/acs.jmedchem.1c00615


  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States