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Category Antineoplastic
Catalog number BBF-05865
CAS 39389-47-4
Purity ≥90%

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Distamycin is an anticancer antibiotic with antiviral and antiprotozoal activity.


Related CAS 636-47-5 (Distamycin A)
Storage Store at -20°C


Antibiotic Activity Spectrum Neoplastics (Tumor); Viruses

Reference Reading

1. Development of distamycin-related DNA binding anticancer drugs
C Sessa, M D'Incalci, S Marchini, M Broggini Expert Opin Investig Drugs . 2001 Sep;10(9):1703-14. doi: 10.1517/13543784.10.9.1703.
The relatively low therapeutic index of the clinically used alkylating agents is probably related to the fact that these compounds cause DNA damage in a relatively unspecific manner, mainly involving guanine-cytosine rich stretches of DNA present in virtually all genes, therefore inducing unselective growth inhibition and death, both in neoplastic and in highly proliferative normal tissues. These considerations explain why in the last twenty years there has been an increasing interest in the identification of compounds which can target DNA with a much higher degree of sequence specificity than that of conventional alkylators. Minor groove binders (MGBs) are one of the most widely studied class of alkylating agents characterised by a high level of sequence specificity. The prototype of this class of drugs is distamycin A which is an antiviral compound able to interact, non-covalently, in theminor groove of DNA in A-T rich regions. It is not cytotoxic against tumour cells and thus has been used as a carrier for targeting cytotoxic alkylating moieties in theminor groove of DNA. The benzoyl mustard derivative of distamycin A, tallimustine, was found to be able to alkylate the N(3) of adenine in theminor groove of DNA only in the target hexamer 5'-TTTTGA or 5'-TTTTAA. Tallimustine was investigated in the clinic and was not successful because it causes severe bone marrow toxicity. The screening of other distamycin derivatives, which maintain antitumour activity and exhibit much lower toxicity against human bone marrow cells than tallimustine led to the identification of brostallicin (PNU-166196) which is currently under early clinical investigation. Although MGBs which bind DNA in A-T rich regions have not fulfilled the expectations, it is too early to draw definitive conclusions on this class of compounds. The peculiar bone-marrow toxicity observed in the clinic both with tallimustine or with CC-1065 derivatives is not necessarily a feature of all MGBs, as indicated by recent evidence obtained with brostallicin and other structurally unrelated MGBs (e.g., ET-743).
2. Distamycin-induced inhibition of homeodomain-DNA complexes
W Leupin, A Dorn, M Müller, W J Gehring, M Affolter EMBO J . 1992 Jan;11(1):279-86. doi: 10.1002/j.1460-2075.1992.tb05050.x.
The mobility shift assay was used to study the competition of the minor groove binder distamycin A with either an Antennapedia homeodomain (Antp HD) peptide or derivatives of a fushi tarazu homeodomain (ftz HD) peptide for their AT-rich DNA binding site. The results show that distamycin and the homeodomain peptides compete under the conditions: (i) preincubation of DNA with distamycin and subsequent addition of HD peptide; (ii) simultaneous incubation of DNA with distamycin and HD peptide; and (iii) preincubation of DNA with HD peptide and subsequent addition of distamycin. There is also competition when using a peptide which lacks the N-terminal arm of ftz HD that is involved in contacts in the minor groove. It is proposed that the protein's binding affinity is diminished by distamycin-induced conformational changes of the DNA. The feasibility of the propagation of conformational changes upon binding in the minor groove is also shown for the inhibition of restriction endonucleases differing in the AT content of their recognition site and of their flanking DNA sequences. Thus, it is demonstrated that minor groove binders can compete with the binding of proteins in the major groove, providing an experimental indication for the influence of biological activities exerted by DNA ligands binding in the minor groove.
3. Distamycin A as stem of DNA minor groove alkylating agents
Maria del Carmen Nûnez, Pier Giovanni Baraldi, Antonio Espinosa, Romeo Romagnoli Curr Top Med Chem . 2004;4(2):231-9. doi: 10.2174/1568026043451474.
Analogues of naturally occurring antitumor agents, such as distamycin A, which bind in the minor groove of DNA, represent a new class of anticancer compounds currently under investigation. Distamycin A has driven researcher's attention not only for their biological activity, but also for its non intercalative binding to the minor groove of double-stranded B-DNA, where it forms strong reversible complex preferentially at the nucleotide sequences consisting of 4-5 adjacent AT base pairs. The pyrrole-amide skeleton of distamycin A has been also used as DNA sequence selective vehicles for the delivery of alkylating functions to DNA targets, leading to a sharp increase of its cytotoxicity, in comparison to that, very weak, of distamycin itself. In the last few years, several hybrid compounds, in which known antitumor derivatives or simple active moieties of known antitumor agents have been tethered to distamycin frames, have been designed, synthesized and tested. Several efforts have been made to modify DNA sequence selectivity and stability of the distamycin and the structural modifications have been based on replacement of pyrrole by other heterocycles and/or benzoheterocycles obtaining a novel class of minor groove binding molecules called lexitropsins. The role of the amidino moiety, by means of the substitution with various groups, which includes ionizable, acid or basic, and non-ionizable groups, has been also studied. The synthesis of a hybrid deriving among the combination of the distamycin A and naturally occurring alkylating agent has been also reported. Several classes of distamycin derivatives that have been reported in the published literature have been described in this review article.

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