Research on development of novel metal based anti-cancer agents continues with its popularity among bioinorganic community. Benzothiazole, an important heterocyclic pharmacophore, was chosen as a valuable and useful scaffold for the synthesis of novel copper(II) complexes. Three new copper(II) complexes obtained from the synthesis of newly synthesized benzothiazole based N-(benzo[d]thiazol-2-ylmethyl)-N-methyl-2-(pyridin-2-yl)ethan-1-amine (btzpy) ligand with CuCl [Cu(btzpy)Cl] (1), Cu(NCS) [Cu(btzpy)(NCS)] (2), and Cu(NO) [Cu(btzpy)(NO)(HO)]NO (3) were isolated and characterized by physical and spectroscopic measurements, including single-crystal X-ray structures. The interaction of complexes 1 and 3 with calf thymus (CT)-DNA was investigated using ethidium bromide fluorescence quenching assay and weak intercalation with K values of 9.8 × 10 M and 8.2 × 10 M, respectively was observed. All three complexes have shown DNA cleavage of supercoiled plasmid DNA forming single nicked and double nicked forms in the presence of external reducing agents like 3-mercaptopropionic acid (3-MPA) and ascorbic acid. The water-soluble complexes 1 and 3 also show prominent hydrolytic DNA cleavage. From the DPPH (2,2-diphenyl-1-picrylhydrazyl) radical scavenging assay, it was observed that complex 2 also exhibits good antioxidant properties. The cytotoxicity of complexes 1-3 was tested against the lung cancer cell line (A549) and complex 2 with -NCS moiety shows maximum activity in the micromolar range. A rationale for the observed activity is proposed in light of the other properties of these molecules.
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