Inhibition of high-mobility-group A2 protein binding to DNA by netropsin: a biosensor-surface plasmon resonance assay

Anal Biochem. 2008 Mar 1;374(1):7-15. doi: 10.1016/j.ab.2007.10.023. Epub 2007 Oct 23.


The design of small synthetic molecules that can be used to affect gene expression is an area of active interest for development of agents in therapeutic and biotechnology applications. Many compounds that target the minor groove in AT sequences in DNA are well characterized and are promising reagents for use as modulators of protein-DNA complexes. The mammalian high-mobility-group transcriptional factor HMGA2 also targets the DNA minor groove and plays critical roles in disease processes from cancer to obesity. Biosensor-surface plasmon resonance methods were used to monitor HMGA2 binding to target sites on immobilized DNA, and a competition assay for inhibition of the HMGA2-DNA complex was designed. HMGA2 binds strongly to the DNA through AT hook domains with KD values of 20-40 nM depending on the DNA sequence. The well-characterized minor groove binder netropsin was used to develop and test the assay. The compound has two binding sites in the protein-DNA interaction sequence, and this provides an advantage for inhibition. An equation for analysis of results when the inhibitor has two binding sites in the biopolymer recognition surface is presented with the results. The assay provides a platform for discovery of HMGA2 inhibitors.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Binding Sites
  • Binding, Competitive
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • HMGA2 Protein / antagonists & inhibitors*
  • Mice
  • Netropsin / pharmacology*
  • Protein Binding / drug effects
  • Surface Plasmon Resonance / methods*


  • HMGA2 Protein
  • Netropsin
  • DNA