The fluxional amine gold(iii) complex as an excellent catalyst and precursor of biologically active acyclic carbenes†
A new amine gold(III) complex [Au(C6F5)2(DPA)]ClO4 with the di-(2-picolyl)amine (DPA) ligand has been synthesised. In the solid state the complex has a chiral amine nitrogen because the ligand coordinates to the gold centre through one nitrogen atom from a pyridine and through the NH moiety, whereas in solution it shows a fluxional behaviour with a rapid exchange between the pyridine sites. This complex can be used as an excellent synton to prepare new gold(III) carbene complexes by the reaction with isocyanide CNR. The resulting gold(III) derivatives have unprecedented bidentate C^N acyclic carbene ligands. All the complexes have been spectroscopically and structurally characterized. Taking advantage of the fluxional behaviour of the amine complex, its catalytic properties have been tested in several reactions with the formation of C–C and C–N bonds. The complex showed excellent activity with total conversion, without the presence of a co-catalyst, and with a catalyst loading as low as 0.1%. These complexes also present biological properties, and cytotoxicity studies have been performed in vitro against three tumour human cell lines, Jurkat (T-cell leukaemia), MiaPaca2 (pancreatic carcinoma) and A549 (lung carcinoma). Some of them showed excellent cytotoxic activity compared with the reference cisplatin.