In this work, we assessed the capacity of RNA polymerases to use platinated ribonucleotides as substrates for RNA synthesis by testing the incorporation of the model compound [Pt(dien)(N7-5'-GTP)] (dien=diethylenetriamine; GTP=5'-guanosine triphosphate) into a natural RNA sequence. The yield of in vitro transcription operated by T7 RNA polymerase, on the LacZ (Escherichia coli gene encoding for β-galactosidase) sequence, decreases progressively with decreasing the concentration of natural GTP, in favor of the platinated nucleotide, [Pt(dien)(N7-5'-GTP)]. Comparison of the T7 RNA polymerase transcription activities for [Pt(dien)(N7-5'-GTP)] compound incorporation reaction test, with respect to the effect of a decreasing concentration of natural GTP, showed no major differences. A specific inhibitory effect of compound [Pt(dien)(N7-5'-GTP)] (which may pair the complementary base on the DNA strand, without being incorporated in the RNA by the T7 RNA polymerase) was evidenced. Our findings therefore suggest that RNA polymerases, unlike DNA polymerases, are unable to incorporate N7-platinated nucleotides into newly synthesized nucleic acids. In this respect, specifically designed N7-platinated nucleotides based compounds could be used in alternative to the classical platinum based drugs. This approach may offer a possible strategy to target specifically DNA, without affecting RNA, and is potentially able to better modulate pharmacological activity.
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