Honors College Theses

Publication Date



Chemistry (B.S.)

Document Type and Release Option

Thesis (open access)

Faculty Mentor

Amanda Stewart


The interruption of DNA binding is a gateway to the inhibition of unregulated expression of genes which can possibly lead to illnesses such as cancer and epilepsy. The goal of this research is to produce high affinity DNA binding molecules which could act to displace the binding of natural transcription factor thus reducing the over- or under-expression of various proteins. Literature shows that the interruption of DNA binding can be completed using both organic and inorganic means, such as by means of natural transcription factors like the NF-κB protein or with metal-ligand complexes in order to bind DNA. NF-κB, a protein that plays a vital role in cell growth and immune response, works as a transcription factor and binds DNA using a beta sheet loop region. Mimics of the NF-κB binding region will be made and analyzed via circular dichroism and fluorescence. Metal ligand complexes are able to bind to DNA through two different interactions: intercalation into DNA via the ligand portion and ion coordination with the negatively charged phosphate backbones of DNA. The analysis of the metal complex binding affinity will be done using UV-Vis fluorescence spectroscopy, circular dichroism (CD) studies, and gel electrophoresis assays. The overall purpose of this research is to identify the more efficient binder with the higher affinity for DNA binding between organic and inorganic molecules.