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J Inorg Biochem. 2009 Apr;103(4):622-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2009.01.003. Epub 2009 Jan 18.

DNA cleavage activity of V IV O(acac)2 and derivatives.

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Departamento de Química, Bioquímica e Farmácia, Universidade do Algarve, Campus de Gambelas, Faro, Portugal.


The DNA cleavage activity of several beta-diketonate vanadyl complexes is examined. Vanadyl acetylacetonate, V(IV)O(acac)(2), 1, shows a remarkable activity in degrading plasmid DNA in the absence of any activating agents, air and photoirradiation. The cleaving activity of several related complexes V(IV)O(hd)(2) (2, Hhd=3,5-heptanedione), V(IV)O(acac-NH(2))(2) (3, Hacac-NH(2)=acetoacetamide) and V(IV)O(acac-NMe(2))(2) (4, Hacac-NMe(2)=N,N-dimethylacetoacetamide) is also evaluated. It is shown that 2 exhibits an activity similar to 1, while 3 and 4 are much less efficient cleaving agents. The different activity of the complexes is related to their stability towards hydrolysis in aqueous solution, which follows the order 1 approximately 2>>3 approximately 4. The nature of the pH buffer was also found to be determinant in the nuclease activity of 1 and 2. In a phosphate buffered medium DNA cleavage by these agents is much more efficient than in tris, hepes, mes or mops buffers. The reaction seems to take place through a mixed mechanism, involving the formation of reactive oxygen species (ROS), namely OH radicals, and possibly also direct cleavage at phosphodiester linkages induced by the vanadium complexes.

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