Author Information

Lindsay McDonald


Molecular recognition and binding of oligosaccharides play an essential role in many biological processes including cell-cell recognition, signaling and adhesion. Our group is currently involved in the development of metal based receptors that can effectively bind specific glycoconjugates. Species that can selectively bind and chemically alter membrane glycoconjugates have the potential to inhibit tumor cell metastasis, inflammation and fibrosis. As an initial step towards our goal the interactions of cis-Ru(bpy)2(DMF)22+ (bpy = bipyridine, DMF = dimethylformamide) and cis-Ru(acac)2(CH3CN)2+ (acac = acetylacetonate) with the monosaccharides glucose and mannose have been examined to identify and understand the conditions necessary for complexation of sugars to ruthenium. Cis-Ru(bpy)2(DMF)22+ has been synthesized from cis-Ru(bpy)2Cl2 by addition of Ag+ which removes the chloride ions as silver chloride. This newly isolated compound represents a valuable precursor for binding studies with monosaccharides because we expect that the DMF ligands will be readily displaced. Binding studies with cis-Ru(bpy)2(DMF)22+ and simple monosaccharides indicate, however, that metal-sugar interactions are extremely weak. In order to strengthen these interactions, a second compound, cis-Ru(bpy)2(MeOH)22+ was isolated with the idea that the methanol group will be even more easily displaced than the DMF. Complexation studies suggest that addition of sugar to cis-Ru(bpy)2(MeOH)22+ resulted in modest changes in the electronic absorptions of cis-Ru(bpy)2(MeOH)22+. Such changes suggest that when weakly coordinating solvents such as methanol are present weak metal-saccharide complexation occurs in solution.

Note on the Author

Lindsay McDonald is a senior Biology and Chemistry double major. This project began as volunteer work in Lindsay’s sophomore year and has continued with the aid of several ATP grants throughout her undergraduate career. Lindsay and her mentor, Dr. Steven Haefner, have presented this work at the American Chemical Society conferences in San Diego and Atlanta, and will also present at the 2008 meeting in New Orleans. Lindsay has also presented this work at an international conference in Konstanz, Germany. This work is part of an honors thesis which will be defended in April of 2008.

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