Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Dr. Dabne White Dixon - Chair

Second Advisor

Kathryn Betty Grant

Third Advisor

Markus W. Germann


Sulfonated porphyrins and phthalocyanines have been under consideration as microbicides, compounds which, when used in a topical formulation, can prevent transmission of the human immunodeficiency virus. Our studies have been directed toward the characterization of members of these classes. For the sulfonated phthalocyanines, matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry was helpful in determining the extent of sulfonation. We present the first report of spectroscopic characterization of a pentasulfonated phthalocyanine. Capillary electrophoresis data were sensitive to the concentration of the compounds (Chapter 1). Mass spectrometry was also very useful for establishing the extent of sulfonation in series of sulfonated porphyrins. Capillary electrophoresis was very useful in separating mixtures of these species. A study on sulfonation of a series of tetra(difluorophenyl)porphyrins showed that species with red-shifted Soret peaks were being formed. Data were consistent with an intramolecular sulfone bridge from the phenyl substituent to the porphyrin core. Sulfonation of the tetranaphthylporphyrins ring readily gave more than one sulfonic acid group per naphthyl side chain (Chapter 2). In cancer chemotherapy of solid tumors, it is desired to kill the tumor cells with minimal damage to the surrounding tissue. Brachytherapy seeds have been a considerable help in this regard for some tumors. In further developing approaches to selective tumor damage, we have evaluated a technique, Auger Electron Therapy (AET) in which one introduces a compound that is expected to bind to DNA, absorb the radiation, and then catalyze clustered DNA damage via release of a series of Auger electrons. We chose a series of metals (silver, indium, molybdenum, palladium, platinum, ruthenium, silver and zirconium) with appropriate energy levels to absorb an x-ray photon from the brachytherapy seed and used the tetracationic porphyrin 5,10,15,20-tetrakis(1-methylpyridinium-4-yl) porphyrin (TMPyP4) as a scaffold. The amount of clustered DNA damage was quantitated by a plasmid assay. Experiments evaluated the effect of buffer, concentration of glycerol, irradiation time, and concentration of the porphyrin. No metal studied gave significant double stranded (localized) DNA damage. Significant single stranded DNA damage was observed, however, in the order zirconium >> ruthenium > palladium > platinum > silver ~ indium (Chapter 3).

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