Ternary copper complexes for photocleavage of DNA by red light: direct evidence for sulfur-to-copper charge transfer and d-d band involvement

Dhar, Shanta ; Senapati, Dulal ; Das, Puspendu K. ; Chattopadhyay, Pabitra ; Nethaji, Munirathinam ; Chakravarty, Akhil R. (2003) Ternary copper complexes for photocleavage of DNA by red light: direct evidence for sulfur-to-copper charge transfer and d-d band involvement Journal of the American Chemical Society, 125 (40). pp. 12118-12124. ISSN 0002-7863

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Official URL: http://pubs.acs.org/doi/abs/10.1021/ja036681q

Related URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1021/ja036681q


A new class of ternary copper(II) complexes of formulation [Cu(Ln)B](ClO4) (1-4), where HLn is a NSO-donor Schiff base (HL1, HL2) and B is a NN-donor heterocyclic base viz. 1,10-phenanthroline (phen) and 2,9-dimethyl-1,10-phenanthroline (dmp), are prepared, structurally characterized, and their DNA binding and photocleavage activities studied in the presence of red light. Ternary complex [Cu(L3)(phen)](ClO4) (5) containing an ONO-donor Schiff base and a binary complex [Cu(L2)2] (6) are also prepared and structurally characterized for mechanistic investigations of the DNA cleavage reactions. While 1-4 have a square pyramidal (4 + 1) CuN3OS coordination geometry with the Schiff base bonded at the equatorial sites, 5 has a square pyramidal (4 + 1) geometry with CuN3O2 coordination with the alcoholic oxygen at the axial site, and 6 has a square planar trans-CuN2O2 geometry. Binding of the complexes 1-4 to calf thymus DNA shows the relative order: phen dmp. Mechanistic investigations using distamycin reveal minor groove binding for the complexes. The phen complexes containing the Schiff base with a thiomethyl or thiophenyl moiety show red light induced photocleavage. The dmp complexes are essentially photonuclease inactive. Complexes 5 and 6 are cleavage inactive under similar photolytic conditions. A 10 μM solution of 1 displays a 72% cleavage of SC DNA (0.5 μg) on an exposure of 30 min using a 603 nm Nd:YAG pulsed laser (60 mJ/P) in Tris-HCl buffer (pH 7.2). Significant cleavage of 1 is also observed at 694 nm using a Ruby laser. Complex 1 is cleavage inactive under argon or nitrogen atmosphere. It shows a more enhanced cleavage in pure oxygen than in air. Enhancement of cleavage in D2O and inhibition with sodium azide addition indicate the possibility of the formation of singlet oxygen as a reactive intermediate leading to DNA cleavage. The d-d band excitation with red light shows significant enhancement of cleavage yield. The results indicate that the phen ligand is necessary for DNA binding of the complex. Both the sulfur-to-copper charge transfer band and copper d-d band excitations helped the DNA cleavage. While the absorption of a red photon induces a metal d-d transition, excitation at shorter visible wavelengths leads to the sulfur-to-copper charge transfer band excitation at the initial step of photocleavage. The excitation energy is subsequently transferred to ground state oxygen molecules to produce singlet oxygen that cleaves the DNA.

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