Microfluidic-based G-quadruplex ligand displacement assay for alkaloid anticancer drug screening

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Some natural heterocyclic alkaloids containing planar group show potential to complex with specific promoter region of protooncogene for stabilizing the G-quadruplex (G4) structure which nowadays promises to be a target in anticancer drug design. However, in view of the polymorphic characteristics and structural complexity of heterocyclic alkaloids, it is desirable to develop high-throughput and low-consumption approach for anticancer drug screening. In this paper, an intensive study on alkaloid ligand/G4 DNA interaction has been conducted, demonstrating that the end-stacking interaction is the favorable binding mode between the oncogene-related Pu22 G4 DNA and the heterocyclic alkaloid ligand. Based on structural feasibility and energy minimization, a ligand displacement assay for screening alkaloid ligand in stabilizing the oncogene target G4 has been developed, which also helps to facilitate the assessment of drug specificity. Coupled with microfluidic-based DNAzyme-catalytic chemiluminescence detection, the approach showed the advantages of high sensitivity, high throughput with low sample and reagent consumptions.

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