Platinum(II) complexes of dipyridophenazine as metallointercalators for DNA and potent cytotoxic agents against carcinoma cell lines

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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  • Chi-Ming Che
  • Mengsu Yang
  • Kar-Ho Wong
  • Hing-Leung Chan
  • Wing Lam


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3350-3356
Journal / PublicationChemistry - A European Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1999


The synthesis and spectroscopic characterization of a new class of DNA-intercalating platinum(II) complexes, [Pt(dppz) (tNC)] CF3SO3 (dppz = dipyrido[3,2-a:2′,3′-c]phenazine, tNCH = 4-tert-butyl-2-phenylpyridine) and [Pt(dppz)(L)2](CF3SO3)2 (L = 1-methylimidazole (Meim-1) or 4-aminopyridine (NH2py-4)) are described. All the complexes are photoluminescent in degassed acetonitrile at room temperature. [Pt(dppz)(tNC)]CF3SO3 shows a vibronic structured emission (λmax = 477 nm) which is assigned to the intraligand transition (IL) of the C-deprotonated 4-tert-butyl-2-phenylpyridine ligand. Both [Pt(dppz)(Meim-1)2]-(CF3SO3)2 and [Pt(dppz)(NH2py-4)2]-(CF3SO3) 2 display a lower energy emission band with λmax at 558 nm, which is originated from a 3MLCT state [5d(Pt) →π* (dppz)]. The binding reactions of platinum(II) complexes with double-stranded DNA (dsDNA) were studied by spectroscopic methods and the intrinsic binding constants (K) are 1.1 × 104 - 1.3 × 104 dm3mol-1. The results of gel electrophoresis and UV melting experiments revealed that they interact strongly with DNA. In aerated aqueous Tris buffer solution, [Pt(dppz)(tNC)]CF3SO3 is nonemissive. Upon intercalation of [Pt(dppz)-(tNC)]CF3SO3 into calf thymus DNA (ctDNA), a low energy emission with λmax = 650 nm is developed and this is ascribed to exciplex formation between the excited state of [Pt(dppz)(tNC)]+ with the DNA base pairs. The cytotoxicity of [Pt(dppz)(tNC)]CF3SO3 was compared to that of cisplatin using human carcinoma KB-3-1 and its multidrug-resistant subclone KB-V1 cell lines, which is 10 and 40 times more potent than cisplatin in the killing of KB-3-1 and KB-V1 cells, respectively.

Research Area(s)

  • Antitumor agents, Bioinorganic chemistry, DNA recognition, Luminescence, Platinum