A suite of eight cationic, tetra-metallic molecular rectangles (1–8) was generated via coordination-driven self-assembly using four dicarboxylate-bridged arene-Ru precursors (A1–A4) with one of two dipyridyl ligands (D1, D2). The high-yielding (84–92%) rectangles were characterized by 1H NMR and HR-ESI-MS to support their structural assignments. The molecular structure of 5 was determined by single crystal X-ray analysis, which indicated that two D2 ligands bridge two A1 acceptors to form a rectangular construct. The photophysical properties of these metalla-rectangles and their molecular precursors were also investigated, as well as an MTT assay to evaluate the in vitro cytotoxicities relative to two chemotherapeutic agents, cisplatin and doxorubicin. MTT assays were conducted using SK-hep-1 (liver cancer) and HCT-15 (colon cancer) human cancer cell lines. Compounds 3, 4, 7 and 8 showed significant activity, with IC50 values comparable to those of cisplatin and doxorubicin.
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