In this review several types of interactions between metal ions and DNA are given, starting from basic binding to the use of metal complexes in cancer treatment and diagnostics. Metal cations help to neutralize the negative charge of DNA and thus enable the normal functions of DNA but many other interactions are also possible and are discussed in this paper. Various consequences of such interactions can be reversible (e. g. conformational changes) or irreversible (e. g. cleavage). It is known that some metal ions can also damage DNA which can provoke mutations and in some cases leads to cancer. It is clear that we know a lot about metal-DNA interactions but much more information is needed to understand the role of metal ions completely and to use this knowledge successfully.
Keywords: DNA, metal ion, anticancer metal complex, metal based drug, structure, carcinogenic metals, diagnostics, cancer treatment, Metal cations, mutations, metal-DNA interactions, polyelectrolyte, The B-form of DNA, DNA stability, cisplatin
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