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New potential antitumoral fluorescent tetracyclic thieno[3,2-b]pyridine derivatives: interaction with DNA and nanosized liposomes

Elisabete MS Castanheira1*, Maria Solange D Carvalho12, Ana Rita O Rodrigues1, Ricardo C Calhelha2 and Maria-João RP Queiroz2

Author affiliations

1 Centre of Physics (CFUM), University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar, Braga, 4710-057, Portugal

2 Centre of Chemistry (CQ-UM), University of Minho, Campus de Gualtar, Braga, 4710-057, Portugal

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Citation and License

Nanoscale Research Letters 2011, 6:379  doi:10.1186/1556-276X-6-379

Published: 12 May 2011


Fluorescence properties of two new potential antitumoral tetracyclic thieno[3,2-b]pyridine derivatives were studied in solution and in liposomes of DPPC (dipalmitoyl phosphatidylcholine), egg lecithin (phosphatidylcholine from egg yolk; Egg-PC) and DODAB (dioctadecyldimethylammonium bromide). Compound 1, pyrido[2',3':3,2]thieno[4,5-d]pyrido[1,2-a]pyrimidin-6-one, exhibits reasonably high fluorescence quantum yields in all solvents studied (0.20 ≤ ΦF ≤ 0.30), while for compound 2, 3-[(p-methoxyphenyl)ethynyl]pyrido[2',3':3,2]thieno[4,5-d]pyrido[1,2-a]pyrimidin-6-one, the values are much lower (0.01 ≤ ΦF ≤ 0.05). The interaction of these compounds with salmon sperm DNA was studied using spectroscopic methods, allowing the determination of intrinsic binding constants, Ki = (8.7 ± 0.9) × 103 M-1 for compound 1 and Ki = (5.9 ± 0.6) × 103 M-1 for 2, and binding site sizes of n = 11 ± 3 and n = 7 ± 2 base pairs, respectively. Compound 2 is the most intercalative compound in salmon sperm DNA (35%), while for compound 1 only 11% of the molecules are intercalated. Studies of incorporation of both compounds in liposomes of DPPC, Egg-PC and DODAB revealed that compound 2 is mainly located in the hydrophobic region of the lipid bilayer, while compound 1 prefers a hydrated and fluid environment.