Author(s): Klajner M, Licona C, Fetzer L, Hebraud P, Mellitzer G,
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Abstract Ruthenium-based compounds are developed for anticancer treatment, but their mode of action including their import mechanism and subcellular localization remains elusive. Here, we used the intrinsic luminescent properties of cytotoxic organoruthenium (Ru(II)) compounds obtained with an anionic cyclometalated 2-phenylpyridine chelate and neutral aromatic chelating ligands (e.g., phenanthrolines) to follow their behavior in living cells. We established that the difference in sensitivity between cancer cells and noncancerous cells toward one of the compounds correlates with its import kinetics and follows a balance between active and passive transport. The active-transport mechanism involves iron and amino-acid transporters, which are transcriptionally regulated by the drug. We also demonstrated a correlation between the accumulation of these compounds in specific compartments (endoplasmic reticulum, nucleus, mitochondria) and the activation of specific cytotoxic mechanisms such as the mitochondrial stress pathway. Our study pinpoints a novel and complex mechanism of accumulation of ruthenium drugs in cancer cells.
This article was published in Inorg Chem
and referenced in Biochemistry & Pharmacology: Open Access