The mononuclear nickel complex NiL (LH2 = N,N'-bis(salicylidene)-1,3-diaminopropane) can be transformed into the tetranuclear complex [NiL(H2O)Pb(SCN)(2)(DMF)](2) in the aid of SCN-, DMF (dimethylformamide) and Pb(II) ions. The complex was characterized by elemental analysis and FTIR investigation. The crystal structure reveals it is a nonlinear Ni(II)-Pb(II)Pb(II)(i)-Ni(II)(i) (i: 1 - x, 1 - y, 1 - z) heterotetranuclear complex and crystallizes in the triclinic space group P1. The Ni(II) and Pb(II) ions have a distorted octahedral coordination geometry. There are three kinds of mu-bridge in the molecule between the metal ions. Each pair of Ni and Pb ions in the asymmetric unit is equatorially linked by two phenolic oxygen bridging atoms of N,N'-bis(salicylidene)-1,3-propanediaminato (salpd(2-), C17H16N2O22-) ligand. The dinuclear centres from tetranuclear clusters Ni-Pb-i and Ni-i-Pb pairs are bridged by two mu-1,3-SCN groups. Pb(II) and Pb(II)(i) ions are also bridged by the oxygen atoms of DMF molecules. The tetranuclear units are hydrogen bonded by two O-H... N intermolecular interactions along the c-axis. The complex was screened for antibacterial and antifungal activities by the disc diffusion and microtitter plate techniques using DMF as solvent. The minimum inhibitory concentration values were calculated. It has been found that antimicrobial activities of the complexes are higher than the free ligand. (c) 2005 Published by Elsevier Inc.