gold silver biomoleculesCongratulations to our Ph.D. student Francesca Binacchi for her recent scientific pubblication entitled: "On the Different Mode of Action of Au(I)/Ag(I)-NHC Bis-Anthracenyl Complexes Towards Selected Target Biomolecules" Gold and silver N-heterocyclic carbenes (NHCs) are emerging for therapeutic applications. Multiple techniques are here used to unveil the mechanistic details of the binding to different biosubstrates of bis(1-(anthracen-9-ylmethyl)-3-ethylimidazol-2-ylidene) silver chloride [Ag(EIA)2]Cl and bis(1-(anthracen-9-ylmethyl)-3-ethylimidazol-2-ylidene) gold chloride [Au(EIA)2]Cl.

As the biosubstrates, we tested natural double-stranded DNA, synthetic RNA polynucleotides (single-poly(A), double-poly(A)poly(U) and triple-stranded poly(A)2poly(U)), DNA G-quadruplex structures (G4s), and bovine serum albumin (BSA) protein. Absorbance and fluorescence titrations, mass spectrometry together with melting and viscometry tests show significant differences in the binding features between silver and gold compounds. [Au(EIA)2]Cl covalently binds BSA. It is here evidenced that the selectivity is high: low affinity and external binding for all polynucleotides and G4s are found. Conversely, in the case of [Ag(EIA)2]Cl, the binding to BSA is weak and relies on electrostatic interactions. [Ag(EIA)2]Cl strongly/selectively interacts only with double strands by a mechanism where intercalation plays the major role, but groove binding is also operative. The absence of an interaction with triplexes indicates the major role played by the geometrical constraints to drive the binding mode. Full text available at