Modified aminoglycosides bind nucleic acids in high-molecular-weight complexes

Lanqing Ying, Hongkun Zhu, Marina Y. Fosso, Sylvie Garneau-Tsodikova, Kurt Fredrick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Aminoglycosides represent a large group of antibiotics well known for their ability to target the bacterial ribosome. In studying 6”-substituted variants of the aminoglycoside tobramycin, we serendipitously found that compounds with C12 or C14 linear alkyl substituents potently inhibit reverse transcription in vitro. Initial observations suggested specific inhibition of reverse transcriptase. However, further analysis showed that these and related compounds bind nucleic acids with high affinity, forming high-molecular weight complexes. Stable complex formation is observed with DNA or RNA in single-or double-stranded form. Given the amphiphilic nature of these aminoglycoside derivatives, they likely form micelles and/or vesicles with surface-bound nucleic acids. Hence, these compounds may be useful tools to localize nucleic acids to surfaces or deliver nucleic acids to cells or organelles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number93
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • DNA
  • Kanamycin
  • RNA
  • Reverse transcriptase
  • Tobramycin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Biochemistry
  • Microbiology


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