Canonical DNA minor groove insertion of bisbenzamidine–Ru(ii) complexes with chiral selectivity†
We report the first Ru(II) coordination compounds that interact with DNA through a canonical minor groove insertion mode and with selectivity for A/T rich sites. This was made possible by integrating a bis-benzamidine minor groove DNA-binding agent with a ruthenium(II) complex. Importantly, one of the enantiomers (Δ-[Ru(bpy)2b4bpy]2+, Δ-4Ru) shows a considerably higher DNA affinity than the parent organic ligand and the other enantiomer, particularly for the AATT sequence, while the other enantiomer preferentially targets long AAATTT sites with overall lower affinity. Finally, we demonstrate that the photophysical properties of these new binders can be exploited for DNA cleavage using visible light.