Oxidative DNA cleavage by Cu(II) complexes: Effect of periphery substituent groups

Wei Wang, Young Ae Lee, Gyeongwon Kim, Seog K. Kim, Ga Ye Lee, Jinheung Kim, Youngmee Kim, Gyeong Jin Park, Cheal Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


A series of structurally-related [Cu(R-benzyl-dipicolylamine)(NO3)2] complexes, where R = methoxy- (1), methyl- (2), H- (3), fluoro- (4), and nitro-group (5), were synthesized, and their activity on DNA cleavage was investigated by linear dichroism (LD) and electrophoresis. The addition of a benzyl group to the dipicolylamine ligand of the [Cu(dipicolylamine)(NO3)2] complex (A), i.e., the [Cu(benzyl-dipicolylamine)(NO3)2] complex (3), caused significant enhancement in the efficiency of oxidative cleavage of both super-coiled (sc) and double stranded (ds) DNA, as evidenced by the electrophoresis pattern and faster decrease in the LD intensity at 260 nm. The efficiency in DNA cleavage was also altered with further modifications of the benzyl group by the introduction of various substituents at the para-position. The cleavage efficiency appeared to be the largest when the methyl group was attached. The order of efficiency in DNA cleavage was methyl > methoxy ≈ H > fluoro ≈ nitro group. When an electron-withdrawing group was introduced, the cleavage efficiency decreased remarkably. The reactive oxygen species involved in the cleavage process were the superoxide radical and singlet oxygen. A possible mechanism for this variation in the DNA cleavage efficiency was proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-149
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Inorganic Biochemistry
StatePublished - Dec 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by an internal research grant of Yeungnam University and the Korea Research Foundation ( NRF-2014R1A2A1A11051794 ).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 Elsevier Inc.


  • Cu complexes
  • Dipicolylamine
  • DNA cleavage
  • Linear dichroism


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