Crystal structure of trioxacarcin A covalently bound to DNA

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We report a crystal structure that shows an antibiotic that extracts a nucleobase from a DNA molecule ‘caught in the act’ after forming a covalent bond but before departing with the base. The structure of trioxacarcin A covalently bound to double-stranded d(AACCGGTT) was determined to 1.78 Å resolution by MAD phasing employing brominated oligonucleotides. The DNA–drug complex has a unique structure that combines alkylation (at the N7 position of a guanine), intercalation (on the 3′-side of the alkylated guanine), and base flip-out. An antibiotic-induced flipping-out of a single, nonterminal nucleobase from a DNA duplex was observed for the first time in a crystal structure.

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