Tom Ellis

University of the West of Scotland, Paisley, SCT, United Kingdom

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Publications (6)28.32 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: The binding of nuclear factor Y (NF-Y) to inverted CCAAT boxes (ICBs) within the promoter region of DNA topoisomerase IIα results in control of cell differentiation and cell cycle progression. Thus, NF-Y inhibitory small molecules could be employed to inhibit the replication of cancer cells. A library of pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD) C8-conjugates consisting of one PBD unit attached to tri-heterocyclic polyamide fragments was designed and synthesized. The DNA-binding affinity and sequence selectivity of each compound were evaluated in DNA thermal denaturation and DNase I footprinting assays, and the ability to inhibit binding of NF-Y to ICB1 and ICB2 was studied using an electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA). 3a was found to be a potent inhibitor of NF-Y binding, exhibiting a 10-fold selectivity for an ICB2 site compared to an ICB1-containing sequence, and showing low nanomolar cytotoxicity toward human tumor cell lines. Molecular modeling and computational studies have provided details of the covalent attachment process that leads to formation of the PBD-DNA adduct, and have allowed the preference of 3a for ICB2 to be rationalized.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 07/2013; · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A series of novel DNA-interactive C8-linked pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD)-heterocycle polyamide conjugates has been synthesised to explore structure/sequence-selectivity relationships. One conjugate (2d) has a greater selectivity and DNA binding affinity for inverted CCAAT sequences within the Topoisomerase IIα promoter than the known C8-bis-pyrrole PBD conjugate GWL-78 (1b).
    Bioorganic & medicinal chemistry letters 06/2011; 21(12):3780-3. · 2.65 Impact Factor
  • EJC Supplements 11/2010; 8(7):168-168. · 2.71 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We have exploited the concept of multivalency in the context of DNA recognition, using novel chemistry to synthesize a new type of bis-intercalator with unusual sequence-selectivity. Bis-intercalation has been observed previously, but design principles for de novo construction of such molecules are not known. Our compounds feature two aromatic moieties projecting from a rigid, polynorbornane-based scaffold. The length and character of the backbone as well as the identity of the intercalators were varied, resulting in mono- or divalent recognition of the double helix with varying affinity. Our lead compound proved to be a moderately sequence-selective bis-intercalator with an unwinding angle of 27 degrees and a binding constant of about 8 microM. 9-aminoacridine rings were preferred over acridine carboxamides or naphthalimides, and a rigid [3]-polynorbornane scaffold was superior to a [5]-polynorbornane. The flexibility of the linker connecting the rings to the scaffold, although less influential, could affect the strength and character of the DNA binding.
    Journal of Medicinal Chemistry 06/2007; 50(10):2326-40. · 5.48 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The established protocol for DNase I footprinting has been modified to allow multiple parallel reactions to be rapidly performed in 96-well microtitre plates. By scrutinizing every aspect of the traditional method and making appropriate modifications it has been possible to considerably reduce the time, risk of sample loss and complexity of footprinting, whilst dramatically increasing the yield of data (30-fold). A semi-automated analysis system has also been developed to present footprinting data as an estimate of the binding affinity of each tested compound to any base pair in the assessed DNA sequence, giving an intuitive 'one compound-one line' scheme. Here, we demonstrate the screening capabilities of the 96-well assay and the subsequent data analysis using a series of six pyrrolobenzodiazepine-polypyrrole compounds and human Topoisomerase II alpha promoter DNA. The dramatic increase in throughput, quantified data and decreased handling time allow, for the first time, DNase I footprinting to be used as a screening tool to assess DNA-binding agents.
    Nucleic Acids Research 02/2007; 35(12):e89. · 8.81 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: SJG-136 (3) is a novel pyrrolobenzodiazepine (PBD) dimer that is predicted from molecular models to bind in the minor groove of DNA and to form sequence-selective interstrand cross-links at 5'-Pu-GATC-Py-3' (Pu = purine; Py = pyrimidine) sites through covalent bonding between each PBD unit and guanines on opposing strands. Footprinting studies have confirmed that high-affinity adducts do form at 5'-G-GATC-C-3' sequences and that these can inhibit RNA polymerase in a sequence-selective manner. At higher concentrations of SJG-136, bands that migrate more slowly than one of the 5'-G-GATC-C-3' footprint sites show significantly reduced intensity, concomitant with the appearance of higher molecular weight material near the gel origin. This phenomenon is attributed to interstrand cross-linking at the 5'-G-GATC-C-3' site and is the first report of DNA footprinting being used to detect interstrand cross-linked adducts. The control dimer GD113 (4), of similar structure to SJG-136 but unable to cross-link DNA due to its C7/C7'-linkage rather than C8/C8'-linkage, neither produces footprints with the same DNA sequence nor blocks transcription at comparable concentrations. In addition to the two high-affinity 5'-G-GATC-C-3' footprints on the MS2 DNA sequence, other SJG-136 adducts of lower affinity are observed that can still block transcription but with lower efficiency. All these sites contain the 5'-GXXC-3' motif (where XX includes AG, TA, GC, CT, TT, GG, and TC) and represent less-favored cross-link sites. In time-course experiments, SJG-136 blocks transcription if incubated with a double-stranded DNA template before the transcription components are added; addition after transcription is initiated fails to elicit blockage. Single-strand ligation PCR studies on a sequence from the c-jun gene show that SJG-136 binds to 5'-GAAC-3'/5'-GTTC-3' (preferred) or 5'-GAGC-3'/5'-GCTC-3' sequences. Significantly, adducts are obtained at the same sequences following extraction of DNA from drug-treated K562 cells, confirming that the agent reaches the cellular genome and interacts with the DNA in a sequence-selective fashion. Finally, SJG-136 efficiently inhibits the action of restriction endonuclease BglII, which has a 5'-A-GATC-T-3' motif at its cleavage site.
    Biochemistry 04/2005; 44(11):4135-47. · 3.19 Impact Factor

Publication Stats

65 Citations
28.32 Total Impact Points


  • 2013
    • University of the West of Scotland
      • School of Science
      Paisley, SCT, United Kingdom
  • 2011
    • University College London
      Londinium, England, United Kingdom
  • 2005
    • University of Cambridge
      • Department of Pharmacology
      Cambridge, ENG, United Kingdom