Publication Date

Fall 2010

Document Type

Project Summary

Degree Name

Master of Science


Analytical Chemistry

First Advisor

Patty Fu-Giles, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

Karen D'Arcy, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Xiaoyong Chen, Ph.D.


A variety of Ruthenium complexes possessing terpyridine complexes as ligands in their coordination sphere have been investigated extensively as DNA photo nucleases in vitro. This work has led to the realization that compounds of Ruthenium bind to DNA purines and that the interactions are of an unprecedented bridging variety. Owing to the molar absorptivity of these complexes in the visible region, direct cleavage of duplex DNA by these complexes requires irradiation in the range of 400-500 nm.

Although the observation of DNA photo cleavage in vitro makes these systems good candidates for further investigation, it does not provide any information on whether the compounds would enter cells in vivo, cause cellular damage or death, or be able to penetrate the nucleus to affect DNA photo cleavage. In the present study, we explore the DNA photo cleavage using gel electrophoresis, cytotoxicity, photocytotoxicity and nuclear DNA damage by the Ruthenium compounds, which were recently shown to possess an emissive, pH- dependent ligand centered excited state.