Novel DNA Bis-Intercalator XR5944 as a Potent Anticancer Drug-Design and Mechanism of Action

Molecules. 2021 Jul 7;26(14):4132. doi: 10.3390/molecules26144132.


This review is dedicated to Professor William A. Denny's discovery of XR5944 (also known as MLN944). XR5944 is a DNA-targeted agent with exceptionally potent antitumor activity and a novel DNA binding mode, bis-intercalation and major groove binding, as well as a novel mechanism of action, transcription inhibition. This novel anticancer compound represents a remarkable accomplishment resulting from two decades of drug discovery by Professor Denny and coworkers. Here, we review our work on the structural study of the DNA binding mode of XR5944 and mechanistic study of XR5944 action.

Keywords: DNA; MLN944; NMR; XR5944; anticancer drug; bis-intercalator; major groove binder.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antineoplastic Agents / pharmacology*
  • DNA / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Intercalating Agents / pharmacology*
  • Neoplasms / drug therapy*
  • Phenazines / pharmacology*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • Intercalating Agents
  • Phenazines
  • XR5944
  • DNA