TitleTargeted live-cell nuclear delivery of the DNA 'light-switching' Ru(II) complex via ion-pairing with chlorophenolate counter-anions: the critical role of binding stability and lipophilicity of the ion-pairing complexes.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2019
AuthorsChao X-J, Tang M, Huang R, Huang C-H, Shao J, Yan Z-Y, Zhu B-Z
JournalNucleic Acids Res
Date Published2019 11 18
KeywordsCell Nucleus, Chlorophenols, DNA, Gene Transfer Techniques, HeLa Cells, Humans, Hydrophobic and Hydrophilic Interactions, Ruthenium

We have found recently that nuclear uptake of the cell-impermeable DNA light-switching Ru(II)-polypyridyl cationic complexes such as [Ru(bpy)2(dppz)]Cl2 was remarkably enhanced by pentachlorophenol (PCP), by forming ion-pairing complexes via a passive diffusion mechanism. However, it is not clear whether the enhanced nuclear uptake of [Ru(bpy)2(dppz)]2+ is only limited to PCP, or it is a general phenomenon for other highly chlorinated phenols (HCPs); and if so, what are the major physicochemical factors in determining nuclear uptake? Here, we found that the nuclear uptake of [Ru(bpy)2(dppz)]2+ can also be facilitated by other two groups of HCPs including three tetrachlorophenol (TeCP) and six trichlorophenol (TCP) isomers. Interestingly and unexpectedly, 2,3,4,5-TeCP was found to be the most effective one for nuclear delivery of [Ru(bpy)2(dppz)]2+, which is even better than the most-highly chlorinated PCP, and much better than its two other TeCP isomers. Further studies showed that the nuclear uptake of [Ru(bpy)2(dppz)]2+ was positively correlated with the binding stability, but to our surprise, inversely correlated with the lipophilicity of the ion-pairing complexes formed between [Ru(bpy)2(dppz)]Cl2 and HCPs. These findings should provide new perspectives for future investigations on using ion-pairing as an effective method for delivering other bio-active metal complexes into their intended cellular targets.

PubMed ID31584083
PubMed Central IDPMC6847114