Synthesis, DNA interaction and SOD-like activities of copper(II) complexes: investigation of their DNA-interaction mechanism

  • Chun-Lian Zhang
  • Dai-Hong Cai
  • Shi Chen
  • Wei Liu
  • Ya-Hong Xiong
  • Xue-Yi LeEmail author


Two water-soluble 6-(pyrazin-2-yl)-1,3,5-triazine-2,4-diamine (pzta)-based Cu(II) complexes, [Cu(pzta)(l-LysH)(H2O)](ClO4)2·H2O (1) and [Cu(pzta)(l-Phe)(H2O)]ClO4·0.75H2O (2), (l-LysH = protonated l-lysinate; l-Phe = l-phenylalaninate), were synthesized and characterized. X-ray crystallography analysis revealed that the coordination geometries around Cu(II) in both complexes can be described as a distorted square pyramid, in which the pzta (N,N) and amino acids (N,O) both act as bidentate chelating ligands. The binding properties of the complexes toward calf thymus DNA (CT-DNA) were studied by physico-chemical and spectroscopic methods, together with viscosity measurements, and isothermal titration calorimetry. Overall, these studies indicated that both complexes associate with DNA via a groove binding mode, driven mainly by hydrophobic interactions. This conclusion is further supported by molecular docking calculations. In addition, the DNA cleavage and SOD-like activities of the complexes were investigated. We found that the complexes can cleave plasmid DNA efficiently in the presence of ascorbate through an oxidative pathway and they also have favorable SOD-like activities.



We are grateful to the program of Guangdong Provincial Science & Technology (2017A020208038) for generous financial support.

Supplementary material

11243_2019_320_MOESM1_ESM.doc (186 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 186 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Applied ChemistrySouth China Agricultural UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Materials and EnergySouth China Agricultural UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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