Computer simulation of the binding of quinocarcin to DNA. Prediction of mode of action and absolute configuration

J Comput Aided Mol Des. 1988 Jul;2(2):91-106. doi: 10.1007/BF01532085.


Computer-based models were derived for the covalent and noncovalent binding of the antitumor antibiotic quinocarcin to a representative DNA segment, d(ATGCAT)2. They showed that a mode of action, involving opening of the oxazolidine ring to give an iminium ion, followed by initial noncovalent binding in the minor groove and subsequent alkylation of the 2-amino group of guanine, was rational and attended by favorable interaction energies in each step. The best model had the aryl ring of quinocarcin lying in the 3' direction from the covalent binding site and an R configuration at the carbon involved in covalent bond formation. It also showed that the preferred absolute configuration for quinocarcin was the reverse of that arbitrarily assigned in the literature.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Computer Simulation
  • DNA / metabolism*
  • DNA Damage
  • Isoquinolines / isolation & purification
  • Isoquinolines / metabolism
  • Models, Molecular
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • Stereoisomerism


  • Isoquinolines
  • quinocarcinol
  • quinocarcin
  • DNA