The frontispiece of the journal Chemistry Eur J highlights the adaptability of gemcitabine.

Although gemcitabine is a well-known drug used in anticancer treatments, its structural effects on the DNA have not been studied in detail. In this work, scientists of CSIC (IQAC and IQFR), the University of Barcelona and the Università degli Studi di Milano describe the adaptive character of gemcitabine (2'-deoxy-2 ', 2'difluorocytidine) when incorporated into two model structures of DNA: a DNA: RNA hybrid as A-helix model and a self-complementary DNA:DNA duplex as a B-helix model. The analysis of the structures in solution, obtained by NMR methods, allowed us to observe that the gemcitabine sugar adopts a North conformation when found in a DNA homoduplex, while in DNA:RNA hybrids it exhibits a South conformation. Exactly the opposite of expected.


  1. C. Cabrero, N. Martín-Pintado, S. Mazzini, R. Gargallo, R. Eritja, A. Aviñó,* C. González.*Structural Effects of Incorporation of 2’-Deoxy-2’2’-Difluorodeoxycytidine (Gemcitabine) in A- and B- Form Duplexes.Chem. Eur. J., 27, 7351–7355, 2021.