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Photophysics of Aminoxanthone Derivatives and Their Application as Binding Probes for DNA


  • This paper is part of a special issue dedicated to Professor J. C. (Tito) Scaiano on the occasion of his 60th birthday.


Xanthones with amino substituents were synthesized to diminish the photoreactivity of the xanthone chromophore with DNA, with the objective of using these molecules to study their binding dynamics with DNA. The aminoxanthones showed a strong solvatochromic effect on their singlet and triplet excited-state photophysics, where polar solvents led to a decrease of the energies for the excited states. Quenching of the triplet excited states by nitrite anions was used to determine the binding dynamics, and a residence time in the microsecond time domain was estimated for the bound 2-aminoxanthone with DNA. The quenching experiments performed showed that this methodology will not be applicable to study the binding dynamics of a wide variety of guests with DNA.