Transplatin is an inactive platinum drug; however, a number of analogues, such as trans-EE and trans-PtTz, demonstrate promising antitumor activity in vitro and in vivo. Although the ultimate target is nuclear DNA, increasing evidence indicate that proteins also play important roles in the display of antitumor activity. The linker histone H1 is situated by the portal between the unwrapped DNA and the nucleosome core. Our recent study revealed that H1 can readily react with cisplatin, and the adducts tend to form ternary complexes with DNA. In this work, we have investigated the reaction of histone H1 with two antitumor-active trans-oriented complexes, trans-EE and trans-PtTz, and the effect of H1 upon the platination of DNA. The results show that trans-platinum drugs are much more reactive than cisplatin toward H1. Interestingly, in addition to the expected bidentate adducts (by displacement of the two labile chlorido ligands), also a tridentate adduct can be formed by displacement of one nonlabile carrier ligand of trans-EE or trans-PtTz. The trans-Pt/H1 adducts can then react with DNA and generate protein-Pt-DNA ternary complexes. Additionally, platinum can be transferred from trans-Pt/H1 adducts to DNA, generating binary trans-Pt/DNA complexes. Such a transfer of the platinum agent to DNA was not observed in the reaction of cisplatin. Furthermore, the detailed investigation carried out on a model peptide indicates that H1 promotes the DNA platination by trans-EE, while it reduces that of trans-PtTz and cisplatin. These results suggest that H1 can play a key role in the DNA platination and modulate the efficacy of different platinum agents.
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