Date of Graduation

Spring 2016

Document Type

Honors Research Project

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science


Chemistry - Biochemistry

Research Sponsor

Dr. Wiley Youngs

First Reader

Dr. Claire Tessier

Second Reader

Dr. Leah Shriver


Imidazolium salt compounds have shown promise in vitro against non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) lines, but the exact mechanism of activity these compounds is still unknown. Due to their planar aromatic structure, we hypothesized that our bis-cation imidazolium salt series could act through DNA intercalation similar to known intercalators ethidium bromide, acridine orange, and echinomycin. Here, we tested bis-cation imidazolium salts with linkers of 2, 4, 10, and 12 carbons for DNA intercalation via viscosity and fluorescent intercalator displacement (FID) assays. Despite some solubility issues that may have decreased results, we found that our butyl and dodecyl linked compounds had activity exceeded that of known intercalator, acridine orange. Results from the FID assay were less profound and none of the compounds were able to significantly displace ethidium bromide as an intercalator in a DNA solution. These findings indicate that bis-cation imidazolium salts likely do not have mechanistic activity against DNA, and future studies should evaluate other intracellular targets to determine the mechanism.

Included in

Biochemistry Commons