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Bioinorganic Chemistry and Applications
Volume 3, Issue 3-4, Pages 239-253

Molecular Recognition of Metal Complexes by DNA: A Comparative Study of the Interactions of the Parent Complexes [PtCl(TERPY)]Cl and [AuCl(TERPY)]Cl 2 with Double Stranded DNA

1Department of Chemistry, University of Florence, via della Lastruccia 3, Sesto Fiorentino, Florence 50019, Italy
2Department of Animal Biology and Genetics “Leo Pardi”, University of Florence, via Romana 17-19, Florence 50122, Italy

Copyright © 2005 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The interactions of the parent complexes [AuCl(Terpy)]Cl2 and [PtCl(Terpy)]Cl with DNA were analysed by various physicochemical methods. Surprisingly, these metal complexes produce different interaction patterns with DNA in spite of their profound structural similarity. Indeed, important modifications are detected in the characteristic UV-Vis bands of [PtCl(Terpy)]Cl upon addition of ct-DNA, while the spectrum of [AuCl(Terpy)]Cl2 is almost unaffected. Gel electrophoresis studies confirm these findings: [PtCl(Terpy)]Cl — but not [AuCl(Terpy)]Cl2 — retards significantly the mobility of the supercoiled form of the pHV14 plasmid after a short incubation time. Ultrafiltration studies indicate that the affinity of [PtCl(Terpy)]Cl for ct-DNA is significantly greater than that of [AuCl(Terpy)]Cl2. On the other hand, both [AuCl(Terpy)]Cl2 and [PtCl(Terpy)]Cl induce important changes in the CD spectrum of ct-DNA, at high concentration, and increase its Tm value. Remarkably, the analysed metal-complex/DNA interaction patterns depend critically on the incubation times. We propose that [PtCl(Terpy)]Cl quickly intercalates DNA; then, formation of coordinative bonds progressively takes place with time. At variance, [AuCl(Terpy)]Cl2 first interacts electrostatically with the DNA surface, with subsequent slow formation of some coordinative bonds.