Mentor: Dr. Sharon Burgmayer
This summer, Professor Burgmayer's research group will be concluding a chapter of three years' work on synthesis and DNA binding studies of Ru(bpy) 2 (phenanthroline-pteridine) complexes. A similar Ru complex, Ru(bpy) 2 (DPPZ), is a known DNA intercalator so it is suspected that the Ru(bpy) 2 (phen-pteridine) complexes may be capable of this binding mode as well. Fluorescence patterns of DNA solutions with the added Ru complexes indicate a binding interaction between the pteridine ligands and the double helix. The nature of these interactions depends upon the substituents of the pteridine ligands. Further investigations are underway to determine the mode(s) of binding. Looking forward, the ruthenium complexes, if found to intercalate the DNA, may be very important model structures for drugs that target specific DNA sequences and insert themselves into the double helices to distort the DNA structures, thus preventing replication. This method has already been applied to at least two FDA approved drugs so these experiments show promise for use in the study of chemotherapeutics and antibiotics.
I will be focusing on the preparation, purification, and characterization of the Ru complexes with the immediate goal of assisting in the write-up of a characterization paper to introduce these complexes. Given time, the project may be expanded to include synthesizing nickel and copper compounds having phenanthroline-pteridine ligands that hydrogen bond to form interesting crystal structures.