Copper complexes with a flexible piperazinyl arm: nuclearity driven catecholase activity and interactions with biomolecules

Three new Cu(II) complexes, [Cu(HL1)(pyridine)(H2O)](ClO4)2·2MeOH (1), [Cu2(HL1)2(NO3)2](NO3)2·3H2O (2) and [Cu(HL2)(NO3)2]·MeCN (3), have been synthesized from two Schiff base ligands [HL1 = 1-phenyl-3-((2-(piperazin-4-yl)ethyl)imino)but-1-en-1-ol and HL2 = 4-((2-(piperazin-1-yl)ethyl)imino)pent-2-en-2-ol] using the chair conformer of a flexible piperazinyl moiety. Structural analysis reveals that 1 and 3 are monomeric Cu(II) complexes consisting of five- and six-coordinate Cu(II), respectively, whereas 2 is a dinuclear Cu(II) complex consisting of two different Cu(II) centers, one square planar with the other distorted octahedral. Screening tests were conducted to quantify the binding of 13 towards DNA and BSA as well as the DNA cleavage activity of these complexes using gel electrophoresis. Enzyme kinetic studies were also performed for the complexes mimicking catecholase-like activities. Antibacterial activities of these complexes were also examined towards Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria. The results reflect that 2 is more active than the monomeric complexes, which is further corroborated by density functional theory study.