Effects of chirality on the intracellular localization of binuclear ruthenium(II) polypyridyl complexes
Journal article, 2012
Interest in binuclear ruthenium(II) polypyridyl complexes as luminescent cellular imaging agents and for biomedical applications is increasing rapidly. We have investigated the cellular localization, uptake, and biomolecular interactions of the pure enantiomers of two structural isomers of [mu-bipb(phen)(4)Ru-2](4+) (bipb is bis(imidazo[4,5-f]-1,10-phenanthrolin-2-yl)benzene and phen is 1,10-phenanthroline) using confocal laser scanning microscopy, emission spectroscopy, and linear dichroism. Both complexes display distinct enantiomeric differences in the staining pattern of fixed cells, which are concluded to arise from chiral discrimination in the binding to intracellular components. Uptake of complexes in live cells is efficient and nontoxic at 5 mu M, and occurs through an energy-dependent mechanism. No differences in uptake are observed between the structural isomers or the enantiomers, suggesting that the interactions triggering uptake are rather insensitive to structural variations. Altogether, these findings show that the complexes investigated are promising for future applications as cellular imaging probes. In addition, linear dichroism shows that the complexes exhibit DNA-condensing properties, making them interesting as potential gene delivery vectors.