The binding of platinum (II)-terpyridine complexes to DNA was studied by using equilibrium dialysis. Optical absorption methods were used to measure the ability of the ligands to aggregate in aqueous buffer. Scatchard plots for the binding of the monomeric [Pt(terpy)SC4H9]+ cation to DNA at I0.01 are curvilinear, concave upwards, suggesting two modes of binding. The association constant decreases at higher ionic strengths, consistent with polyelectrolyte theory, and 1.1 cations are released per bound ligand molecule. The association constants of the binuclear ligands [Pt(terpy)S[CH2]4S(terpy)Pt]2+ and [Pt(terpy)S[CH2]6S(terpy)Pt]2+ are 8 and 23 times larger respectively than the affinity of the monomer. For the latter binuclear derivative the increase may be ascribed to bifunctional reaction. Differential dialysis experiments with DNAs of differing base composition show that [Pt(terpy)SC4H9]+ has a requirement for a single G X C base-pair at the highest-affinity site. However, in the binuclear ligands chromophore specificity is severely compromised. Similar experiments indicate that 9-aminoacridine and selected methylene-linked diacridines show no significant sequence selectivity.

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