New R-ketoglutaric acid thiosemicarbazone (H3ct) derivatives and their copper complexes were synthesized and characterized by analytical and spectroscopic (IR and NMR) methods. For two of the ligands, Me-H3ct and Allyl- H3ct, and for a complex, [Cu(Me-Hct)(OH2)]nâ2nH2O, the X-ray structures were also determined. In the latter the copper atom shows a 4 + 1 pyramidal coordination, a water oxygen appears in the apical position, and three of the basal positions are occupied by the SNO tridentate ligand and the fourth by a carboxylic oxygen of an adjacent molecule that gives rise to a polymeric chain. DNA binding constants were determined, and studies of thermal denaturation profiles and nuclease activity were also performed. Tests in vitro on human leukemia cell line U937 were carried out on cell growth inhibition, cell cycle, and apoptosis induction.
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