Mazuryk O., Magiera K., Rys B., Suzenet F., Kieda, C. and Brindell M.
Journal of biological inorganic chemistry (2014) 19 (8) 1305-1316 - doi : 10.1007/s00775-014-1187-5
Here, we examine the photophysical properties of five ruthenium(II) complexes comprising two 4,7-diphenyl-1,10-phenanthroline (dip) ligands and functionalized bipyridine (R(1)bpy-R(2), where R(1)= H or CH3, R(2)= H, CH(3), COO(-),4-[3-(2-nitro-1H-imidazol-1-yl)propyl] or 1,3-dicyclohexyl-1-carbonyl-urea) towards development of luminescence probes for cellular imaging. These complexes have been shown to interact with albumin and the formed adducts exhibited up to eightfold increase in the luminescence quantum yield as well as the average lifetime of emission. It was demonstrated that they cannot bind to DNA through the intercalation mode and its luminescence in the presence of DNA is quenching. Cell viability experiments indicated that all complexes possess significant dose-dependent cytotoxicity (with IC(5)(0) 5-19 muM) on 4T1 breast cancer cell line and their anti-proliferative activity correlates very well with their lipophilicity. Cellular uptake was studied by measuring the ruthenium content in cells using ICP-MS technique. As expected, the better uptake is directly related to higher lipophilicity of doubly charged ruthenium complexes while uptake of monocationic one is much lower in spite of the highest lipophilicity. Additionally staining properties were assessed using flow cytometry and fluorescence microscopy. These experiments showed that complex with 1,3-dicyclohexyl-1-carbonyl-urea substituent exhibits the best staining properties in spite of the lowest luminescence quantum yield in buffered solution (pH 7.4). Our results point out that both the imaging and cytotoxic properties of the studied ruthenium complexes are strongly influence by the level of internalization and protein interaction.