Terpyridine–Cu(ii) targeting human telomeric DNA to produce highly stereospecific G-quadruplex DNA metalloenzyme†
The cofactors commonly involved in natural enzymes have provided the inspiration for numerous advances in the creation of artificial metalloenzymes. Nevertheless, to design an appropriate cofactor for a given biomolecular scaffold or vice versa remains a challenge in developing efficient catalysts in biochemistry. Herein, we extend the idea of G-quadruplex-targeting anticancer drug design to construct a G-quadruplex DNA metalloenzyme. We found that a series of terpyridine–Cu(II) complexes (CuLn) can serve as excellent cofactors to dock with human telemetric G-quadruplex DNA. The resulting G-quadruplex DNA metalloenzyme utilising CuL1 catalyzes an enantioselective Diels–Alder reaction with enantioselectivity of >99% enantiomeric excess and about 73-fold rate acceleration compared to CuL1 alone. The terpyridine–Cu(II) complex cofactors demonstrate dual functions, both as an active site to perform catalysis and as a structural regulator to promote the folding of human telemetric G-quadruplex DNA towards excellent catalysts.