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An Overview of the Optical and Electrochemical Methods for Detection of DNA – Drug Interactions

Mara M. Aleksić, Vera Kapetanović


A large number of inorganic and organic compounds is able to bind to DNA and form complexes. Among them, drugs are very important, especially chemotherapeutics. This paper presents the overview of DNA structural characteristics and types of interactions (covalent and non-covalent) between DNA molecule and drugs. Covalent binding of the drug is irreversible and leads to complete inhibition of DNA function, what conclusively, causes the cell death. On the other hand, non-covalent binding is reversible and based on the principle of molecular recognition. Special attention is given to elucidation of the specific sites in DNA molecule for drug binding. According to their structural characteristics, drugs that react non-covalently with DNA are mainly intercalators, but also minor and major groove binders.

When the complex between drug and DNA is formed, both the drug molecule, as well as DNA, experienced some mo- difications. This paper presents the overview of the methods used for the study of the interactions between DNA and drugs with the aim of detection and explanation of the resulting changes. For this purpose many spectroscopic methods like UV/VIS, fluorescence, infrared and NMR, polarized light spectroscopies like circular and linear dichroism, and fluorescence anisotropy or resonance is used. The development of the electrochemical DNA biosensors has opened a wide perspective using particularly sensitive and selective electrochemical methods for the detection of specific DNA interactions. The presented results summarize literature data obtained by the mentioned methods. The results are used to confirm the DNA damage, to determine drug binding sites and sequence preference, as well as conformational changes due to drug–DNA interaction.


DNA; drug; interaction; spectroscopic methods; electrochemical DNA-biosensors

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