Adozelesin (formerly U73975, The Upjohn Co.) is a monofunctional DNA alkylating analogue of the antitumor antibiotic (+)-CC-1065. Adozelesin consists of a cyclopropa[c]pyrrolo[3,2-e]indol-4(5H)-one (CPI) alkylating subunit of (+)-CC-1065 and a indole and benzofurans subunit replacing the more complex pyrroloindole B and C subunits, respectively, of (+)-CC-1065. Previous studies have shown that adozelesin forms a reversible covalent DNA duplex adduct via a reaction between the N3 of adenine and the cyclopropyl of the cyclopropapyrroloindole (CPI) subunit. Gel electrophoresis studies have shown that adozelesin, like all the monofunctional (CPI)-based antitumor antibiotics, has a sequence preference for 5'-TTA-3' [the asterisk () indicates covalently modified base]. Molecular-modeling studies have shown that the bound adozelesin ligand spans a total of five base pairs including the modified adenine. These studies have also indicated that, owing to the orientation of the ligand within the base minor groove, there should be an overall preference for sequences rich in A.T base pairs, thus avoiding steric crowding around the exocyclic NH(2) of any guanines present. In this study, we have prepared and studied, by high-field NMR and restrained molecular mechanics (rMM) and dynamics (rMD), the duplex adduct formed between adozelesin and 5'-CGTAAGCGCTTACG-3'. Previous molecular-modeling studies suggested that this sequence should be less preferred, since the two GC base pairs should lead to extensive steric crowding within the adduct, and this hypothesis has, however, never been supported by DNA-footprinting data. (1)H NMR of the adozelesin duplex adduct has reveals that, although Watson-Crick base pairing is maintained throughout the DNA duplex, there is significant distortion around the central base pairs. This distortion is the result of strong hydrogen-bonding between the amide linker of the indole and benzofuran subunits, and the carbonyl of a central thymine base and second, weaker, hydrogen bond to the exocyclic NH(2) of the central guanine was also observed. (1)H NMR and rMD also indicate that, to accommodate this hydrogen-bond system, the bound adozelesin is not positioned centrally within the minor groove but pushed toward the modified DNA strand. Previous studies on the dimeric CPI analogue bizelesin have indicated the important role the ureylene linker plays in the DNA binding. This study indicates that a similar situation exists in the reaction of adozelesin with double-stranded DNA and provides a possible explanation into the unpredicted sequence selectivity of these ligands.