Photo-induced cytotoxicity of prodigiosin analogues

Gyungse Park, John T. Tomlinson, Jacob A. Misenheimer, Gregory L. Kucera, Richard A. Manderville

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Prodigiosin (1) is the parent member of a class of polypyrrole natural products that exhibit promising anticancer activities. They can facilitate copper-promoted oxidative DNA damage by binding to copper ions, and this activity is thought to represent their mechanism of cytotoxicity in the dark. They also possess photoinduced cytotoxicity, although 1 is too toxic in the dark to be used effectively for the treatment of cancer by photodynamic therapies. To circumvent dark toxicity by prodigiosins, the semi-synthetic analogue 2, in which the N-pyrrolic atoms of 1 are methylated to block copper coordination, and the synthetic phenyl analogues 3 and 4, which lack the copper-coordinating A-pyrrole ring of 1, were tested for their ability to inhibit colony formation of HL-60 cancer cells in the absence and presence of visible light (λ > 495 nm). Our results show that 2-4 lack cytotoxicity in the dark, but are able to inhibit colony formation of HL-60 cells following irradiation for 30 min. The synthetic derivative 4 exhibits photo-induced cytotoxicity similar to that of the natural product 1, demonstrating the potential use of prodigiosin-based compounds for treatment of cancers following irradiation with visible light.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-52
Number of pages4
JournalBulletin of the Korean Chemical Society
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer treatment
  • Cytotoxicity
  • Photophysical property
  • Prodigiosin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)


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