Oxovanadium(iv) complexes of curcumin for cellular imaging and mitochondria targeted photocytotoxicity†
Oxovanadium(IV) complexes [VO(R-tpy)(cur)](ClO4) (1, 2) of curcumin (Hcur) and terpyridine ligands (R-tpy) where R is phenyl (phtpy in 1) or p-triphenylphosphonium methylphenyl bromide (C6H4CH2PPh3Br) (TPP-phtpy in 2) were prepared and characterized and their DNA photocleavage activity, photocytotoxicity and cellular localization in cancer cells (HeLa and MCF-7) were studied. Acetylacetonate (acac) complexes [VO(R-tpy)(acac)](ClO4) of phtpy (3) and TPP-phtpy (4) were prepared and used as the control species. These complexes showed efficient cleavage of pUC19 DNA in visible light of 454 nm and near-IR light of 705 nm. Complexes 1 and 2 showed significant photocytotoxicity in visible light of 400–700 nm. FACS analysis showed sub-G1/G0 phase cell-cycle arrest in cancer cells when treated with 1 and 2 in visible light in comparison with the dark controls. Fluorescence microscopic studies revealed specific localization of the p-triphenylphosphonium complex 2 in the mitochondria of MCF-7 cancer cells whereas no such specificity was observed for complex 1.