Introducing [Mn(CO)3(tpa-κ3N)]+ as a novel photoactivatable CO-releasing molecule with well-defined iCORM intermediates – synthesis, spectroscopy, and antibacterial activity†
[Mn(CO)3(tpa-κ3N)]Br was prepared as a novel photoactivatable CO-releasing molecule (PhotoCORM) from [MnBr(CO)5] and tris(2-pyridylmethyl)amine (tpa) for the delivery of carbon monoxide to biological systems, with the κ3N binding mode of the tetradentate tpa ligand demonstrated by X-ray crystallography. The title compound is a CORM prodrug stable in solution in the dark for up to 16 h. However, photoactivation at 365 nm leads to CO release from the metal coordination sphere and transfer to haem proteins, as demonstrated by the standard myoglobin assay. Different iCORM intermediates could be detected with solution IR spectroscopy and assigned using DFT vibrational calculations. The antibacterial activity of the complex was studied on Escherichia coli. No effects were observed when the cultures were either kept in the dark in the presence of PhotoCORM or illuminated in the absence of metal complex. However, photoactivation of [Mn(CO)3(tpa-κ3N)]Br at 365 nm led to the appearance of the spectral signatures of CO-coordinated haems in the terminal oxidases of the bacterial electron transport chain in whole-cell UV/Vis absorption spectra. Significant internalization of the PhotoCORM was demonstrated by ICP-MS measurement of the intracellular manganese concentration. In particular when using medium with succinate as the sole carbon source, a very pronounced and concentration-dependent decrease in the E. coli growth rate could be observed upon illumination in the presence of metal complex, which is attributed to the constrained energy metabolism under these conditions and a strong indicator of terminal oxidase inhibition by carbon monoxide delivered from the PhotoCORM.