DNA interaction, anti-proliferative effect of copper oxide nanocolloids prepared from metallosurfactant based microemulsions acting as precursor, template and reducing agent

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Graphical abstractIn the present study, we have synthesized mixed cuprous/copper oxide nanosuspensions by metallosurfactant based microemulsion technique. Three metallosurfactants were synthesized which includes two non-ionic double chained metallosurfactants with C12, C16 chains with coordinated copper i.e. Cudda and Cuhexa, respectively. Another cationic double chained metallosurfactant with loosely bound metal (Cuctac) was also prepared. The prepared metallocomplexes were characterized using FTIR, elemental analysis, and NMR. The effect of the position of metallosurfactant in microemulsion on the fabrication and properties of nanosuspensions was elucidated. In this method, no external reducing agent and capping agent were added and tween 80 acted both as reducing and stabilizing agent for the nanoparticles. The synthesized nanoparticles were characterized and it was observed that mixed copper and cuprous oxide particles are present in colloidal suspension for all the three studied metallosurfactants. The kinetics of formation of mixed copper/cuprous oxide nanosuspensions (Ns) and their stability was estimated using Uv-visible spectroscopy. Further, the binding and interactions of copper nanosuspensions with calf Thymus DNA (CT-DNA) were assessed using Uv–vis spectroscopy, circular dichroism and gel electrophoresis. Additionally, the antioxidant activity of the Cu Ns was checked using DPPH assay. The role of positive charge on nanoparticles as evaluated from Zeta potential was responsible for DNA affinity. The DNA conformational changes in the presence of nanosuspensions and relevant scavengers were investigated. Further, the anti-proliferative activity of copper Ns was assessed using HeLa cells and Cuhexa derived Ns were proved to be active with highest activity at a low concentration and were nontoxic towards normal cell lines. In summary, this work demonstrates a softer approach for the synthesis of copper nanosuspensions with a size range of 2–5 nm and evaluated the role of type and structure of metallosurfactant on size, stability of particles and anti-proliferative activity.

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