A monoadduct generating Ru(ii) complex induces ribosome biogenesis stress and is a molecular mimic of phenanthriplatin

Richard J. Mitchell, Sarah M. Kriger, Alexander D. Fenton, Dmytro Havrylyuk, Ankit Pandeya, Yang Sun, Tami Smith, Jason E. DeRouchey, Jason M. Unrine, Viral Oza, Jessica S. Blackburn, Yinan Wei, David K. Heidary, Edith C. Glazer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Ruthenium complexes are often investigated as potential replacements for platinum-based chemotherapeutics in hopes of identifying systems with improved tolerability in vivo and reduced susceptibility to cellular resistance mechanisms. Inspired by phenanthriplatin, a non-traditional platinum agent that contains only one labile ligand, monofunctional ruthenium polypyridyl agents have been developed, but until now, few demonstrated promising anticancer activity. Here we introduce a potent new scaffold, based on [Ru(tpy)(dip)Cl]Cl (tpy = 2,2′:6′,2′′-terpyridine and dip = 4,7-diphenyl-1,10-phenanthroline) in pursuit of effective Ru(ii)-based monofunctional agents. Notably, the extension of the terpyridine at the 4′ position with an aromatic ring resulted in a molecule that was cytotoxic in several cancer cell lines with sub-micromolar IC50 values, induced ribosome biogenesis stress, and exhibited minimal zebrafish embryo toxicity. This study demonstrates the successful design of a Ru(ii) agent that mimics many of the biological effects and phenotypes seen with phenanthriplatin, despite numerous differences in both the ligands and metal center structure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-353
Number of pages10
JournalRSC Chemical Biology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Feb 27 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 RSC.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry (miscellaneous)
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology (miscellaneous)


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