Date of Award


Document Type

Union College Only

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science



First Advisor

Laurie A. Tyler




x-ray, DNA, copper, crystal, structures


Cu(II) complexes bound with thiazole-derivative ligands have shown promise as potent metallonucleases toward the advancement of cancer research. In an effort to further elucidate how the ligand framework of a Cu(II) complex affords a particular reactivity, three pyridine-derivative complexes were synthesized and biologically characterized; Cu(PyMe(oBt))(NO3)2 (1), Cu(PyMe(en))(NO3)2 (2), Cu(PyMe(en))Cl2 (3). All complexes were characterized via IR and UV/Vis spectroscopies, elemental analysis, and X-ray crystallography. The X-ray crystal structures for all complexes reveal a 1:1 metal-to-pyridine ligand ratio. Complexes 1 and 2 vary primarily by the presence of either an aromatic or aliphatic organic ligand frame, respectively. Complexes 2 and 3 differ by the identity of coordinated anionic ligands. Agarose gel electrophoresis revealed the ability of all three complexes to promote DNA cleavage in the presence of ascorbic acid reducing agent. The mechanism of DNA cleavage for each complex was confirmed to be oxidative with cleavage relying on the generation of singlet oxygen (1O2) and superoxide (-O2) reactive oxygen species (ROS). Here the biological reactivity of complexes 1 - 3 is reported via DNA cleavage and mechanistic studies, ethidium bromide (EtBr) competitive binding studies and bovine serum albumin (BSA) binding assays.