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Antiproliferative properties and g-quadruplex-binding of symmetrical naphtho[1,2-b:8,7-b’]dithiophene derivatives

  • Autori: Lauria A.; La Monica G.; Terenzi A.; Mannino G.; Bonsignore R.; Bono A.; Almerico A.M.; Barone G.; Gentile C.; Martorana A.
  • Anno di pubblicazione: 2021
  • Tipologia: Articolo in rivista
  • OA Link:


Background: G-quadruplex (G4) forming sequences are recurrent in telomeres and promoter regions of several protooncogenes. In normal cells, the transient arrangements of DNA in G-tetrads may regulate replication, transcription, and translation processes. Tumors are character-ized by uncontrolled cell growth and tissue invasiveness and some of them are possibly mediated by gene expression involving G-quadruplexes. The stabilization of G-quadruplex sequences with small molecules is considered a promising strategy in anticancer targeted therapy. Methods: Molecular virtual screening allowed us identifying novel symmetric bifunctionalized naphtho[1,2-b:8,7-b’]dithiophene ligands as interesting candidates targeting h-Telo and c-MYC G-quadruplexes. A set of unexplored naphtho-dithiophene derivatives has been synthesized and biologically tested through in vitro antiproliferative assays and spectroscopic experiments in solution. Results: The analysis of biological and spectroscopic data highlighted noteworthy cytotoxic effects on HeLa cancer cell line (GI50 in the low µM range), but weak interactions with G-quadruplex c-MYC promoter. Conclusions: The new series of naphtho[1,2-b:8,7-b’]dithiophene derivatives, bearing the pharmacophoric assump-tions necessary to stabilize G-quadruplexes, have been designed and successfully synthesized. The interesting antiproliferative results supported by computer aided rational approaches suggest that these studies are a significant starting point for a lead optimization process and the isolation of a more efficacious set of G-quadruplexes stabilizers.