Influence of PPh<inf>3</inf> moiety in the anticancer activity of new organometallic ruthenium complexes

Rubén Sáez, Julia Lorenzo, Ma Jose Prieto, Mercè Font-Bardia, Teresa Calvet, Nuria Omeñaca, Marta Vilaseca, Virtudes Moreno

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43 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of the PPh3 group in the antitumor activity of some new organometallic ruthenium(II) complexes has been investigated. Several complexes of the type [Ru(II)(Cl)(PPh3)(Lig-N)], [Ru (II)(Cl)2(Lig-N)] (where Lig-N = pyridine derivate) and [Ru(II)(Cl)(PPh3)2], have been synthesized and characterized. A noticeable increment of the antitumor activity and cytotoxicity of the complexes due to the presence of PPh3 moiety has also been demonstrated, affording IC50 values of 5.2 μM in HL-60 tumor cell lines. Atomic force microscopy, circular dichroism and electrophoresis experiments have proved that these complexes can bind DNA resulting in a distortion of both secondary and tertiary structures. Ethidium bromide displacement fluorescence spectroscopy studies and viscosity measurements support that the presence of PPh3 group induces intercalation interactions with DNA. Indeed, crystallographic analysis, suggest that intra-molecular π-π interactions could be involved in the intercalation within DNA base pairs. Furthermore, high performance liquid chromatography mass spectrometry (HPLC-MS) studies have confirmed a strong interaction between ruthenium complexes and proteins (ubiquitin and potato carboxypeptidase inhibitor - PCI) including slower kinetics due to the presence of PPh 3 moiety, which could have an important role in detoxification mechanism and others. Finally, ion mobility mass spectrometry (IMMS) experiments have proved that there is no significant change in the gas phase structural conformation of the proteins owing to their bonding to ruthenium complexes. © 2014 Elsevier Inc.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalJournal of Inorganic Biochemistry
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014


  • Arene ruthenium(II) complexes
  • Calf thymus DNA
  • DNA interaction
  • pBR322 DNA
  • Protein interaction
  • Ruthenium antitumor compounds


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