Pyrido[1,2-a]pyrimidinium ions – a novel bridgehead nitrogen heterocycles: synthesis, characterisation, and elucidation of DNA binding and cell imaging properties†
A novel class of bridgehead nitrogen heterocycles, pyrido[1,2-a]pyrimidinium ions, has been readily synthesized by a two-step one-pot reaction in high yields (up to 93%). These ionic compounds are bench stable and moisture tolerant and have highly fluorescent properties (quantum yield up to 0.65). A characteristic bright bluish fluorescence was observed in polar solvents such as acetonitrile and fluorescent intensity gradually diminishes with decreasing the polarity of the medium, which becomes almost negligible in toluene. These compounds also show interesting bioactivity. DNA interaction, imaging, and viability experiments with human leukemic Jurkat and KG-1A cells revealed that they are potential candidates for cancer diagnosis.