Human type II topoisomerase (Top2) isoforms, hTop2α and hTop2β, are targeted by some of the most successful anticancer drugs. These drugs induce Top2-mediated DNA cleavage to trigger cell-death pathways. The potency of these drugs correlates positively with their efficacy in stabilizing the enzyme-mediated DNA breaks. Structural analysis of hTop2α and hTop2β revealed the presence of methionine residues in the drugbinding pocket, we therefore tested whether a tighter Top2-drug association may be accomplished by introducing a methionine-reactive Pt2+ into a drug to further stabilize the DNA break. Herein, we synthesized an organoplatinum compound, etoplatin-N2β, by replacing the methioninejuxtaposing group of the drug etoposide with a cis-dichlorodiammineplatinum(II) moiety. Compared to etoposide, etoplatin-N2β more potently inhibits both human Top2s. While the DNA breaks arrested by etoposide can be rejoined, those captured by etoplatin-N2β are practically irreversible. Crystallographic analyses of hTop2β complexed with DNA and etoplatin-N2β demonstrate coordinate bond formation between Pt2+ and a flanking methionine. Notably, this stable coordinate tether can be loosened by disrupting the structural integrity of drug-binding pocket, suggesting that Pt2+ coordination chemistry may allow for the development of potent inhibitors with protein conformation-dependent reversibility. This approach may be exploited to achieve isoformspecific targeting of human Top2s.
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