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Current Cancer Drug Targets


ISSN (Print): 1568-0096
ISSN (Online): 1873-5576

Review Article

Natural DNA Intercalators as Promising Therapeutics for Cancer and Infectious Diseases

Author(s): Martyna Godzieba* and Slawomir Ciesielski

Volume 20, Issue 1, 2020

Page: [19 - 32] Pages: 14

DOI: 10.2174/1568009619666191007112516

Price: $65


Cancer and infectious diseases are one of the greatest challenges of modern medicine. An unhealthy lifestyle, the improper use of drugs, or their abuse are conducive to the increase of morbidity and mortality caused by these diseases. The imperfections of drugs currently used in therapy for these diseases and the increasing problem of drug resistance have forced a search for new substances with therapeutic potential. Throughout history, plants, animals, fungi and microorganisms have been rich sources of biologically active compounds. Even today, despite the development of chemistry and the introduction of many synthetic chemotherapeutics, a substantial part of the new compounds being tested for treatment are still of natural origin. Natural compounds exhibit a great diversity of chemical structures, and thus possess diverse mechanisms of action and molecular targets. Nucleic acids seem to be a good molecular target for substances with anticancer potential in particular, but they may also be a target for antimicrobial compounds. There are many types of interactions of small-molecule ligands with DNA. This publication focuses on the intercalation process. Intercalators are compounds that usually have planar aromatic moieties and can insert themselves between adjacent base pairs in the DNA helix. These types of interactions change the structure of DNA, leading to various types of disorders in the functioning of cells and the cell cycle. This article presents the most promising intercalators of natural origin, which have aroused interest in recent years due to their therapeutic potential.

Keywords: Intercalators, drugs, DNA binding, anticancer, antimicrobial, alkylating compounds.

Graphical Abstract
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