alexa Dansyl-naphthalimide dyads as molecular probes: effect of spacer group on metal ion binding properties.


Biochemistry & Analytical Biochemistry

Author(s): Shankar BH, Ramaiah D

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Abstract Interaction of a few dansyl-naphthalimide conjugates 1a-e linked through polymethylene spacer groups with various metal ions was investigated through absorption, fluorescence, NMR, isothermal calorimetric (ITC), and laser flash photolysis techniques. The characteristic feature of these dyads is that they exhibit competing singlet-singlet energy transfer (SSET) and photoinduced electron transfer (PET) processes, both of which decrease with the increase in spacer length. Depending on the spacer group, these dyads interact selectively with divalent Cu(2+) and Zn(2+) ions, as compared to other mono- and divalent metal ions. Jobs plot analysis showed that these dyads form 2:3 complexes with Cu(2+) ions, while 1:1 complexes were observed with Zn(2+) ions. The association constants for the Zn(2+) and Cu(2+) complexes were determined and are found to be in the order 10(3)-10(5) M(-1). Irrespective of the length of the spacer group, these dyads interestingly act as fluorescence ratiometric molecular probes for Cu(2+) ions by altering the emission intensity of both dansyl and naphthalimide chromophores. In contrast, only the fluorescence intensity of the naphthalimide chromophore of the lower homologues (n = 1-3) was altered by Zn(2+) ions. (1)H NMR and ITC measurements confirmed the involvement of both sulfonamide and dimethylamine groups in the complexation with Cu(2+) ions, while only the latter group was involved with Zn(2+) ions. Laser excitation of the dyads 1a-e showed formation of a transient absorption which can be attributed to the radical cation of the naphthalimide chromophore, whereas only the triplet excited state of the dyads 1a-e was observed in the presence of Cu(2+) ions. Uniquely, the complexation of 1a-e with Cu(2+) ions affects both PET and SSET processes, while only the PET process was partially inhibited by Zn(2+) ions in the lower homologues (n = 1-3) and the higher homologues exhibited negligible changes in their emission properties. Our results demonstrate that the spacer length dependent variations of the photophysical properties of these novel conjugates not only enable the selective detection of Cu(2+) and Zn(2+) ions but also aid in discriminating these two biologically important metal ions. This article was published in J Phys Chem B and referenced in Biochemistry & Analytical Biochemistry

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