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The dodecadeoxynucleotide duplex d(GGTTAATGCGGT).d(ACCGCATTAACC) and its 1:1 complex with the minor groove binding drug SN-6999 have been prepared and studied by two-dimensional 1H nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy. Complete sequence-specific assignments have been obtained for the free duplex by standard methods. The line widths of the resonances in the complex are greater than those observed for the free duplex, which complicates the assignment process. Extensive use of two-quantum spectroscopy was required to determine the scalar correlations for identifying all of the base proton and most of the 1'H-2'H-2''H spin subsystems for the complex. This permitted unambiguous sequence-specific resonance assignments for the complex, which provides the necessary background for a detailed comparison of the structure of the duplex, with and without bound drug. A series of intermolecular NOEs between drug and DNA were identified, providing sufficient structural constraints to position the drug in the minor groove of the duplex. However, the combination of NOEs observed can only be rationalized by a model wherein the drug binds in the minor groove of the DNA in both orientations relative to the long helix axis and exchanges rapidly between the two orientations. The drug binds primarily in the segment of five consecutive dA-dT base pairs d(T3T4A5A6T7).d(A18T19T20A21A22), but surprisingly strong interactions are found to extend one residue in the 3' direction along each strand to G8 and C23. The observation of intermolecular contacts to residues neighboring the AT-rich region demonstrates that the stabilization of the bis(quaternary ammonium) heterocycle family of AT-specific, minor groove binding drugs is not based exclusively on interactions with dA-dT base pairs.
Experiments were performed to determine if retroviral-mediated transfer of the human multidrug resistance 1 gene (MDR1) into murine bone marrow cells would confer drug resistance to the cells and whether the MDR1 gene could be used as a dominant selectable marker in vivo. When mice transplanted with bone marrow cells containing a transferred MDR1 gene were treated with the cytotoxic drug taxol, a substantial enrichment for transduced bone marrow cells was observed. This demonstration of positive selection establishes the ability to amplify clones of transduced hematopoietic cells in vivo and suggests possible applications in human therapy.