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Anticancer activities of self-assembled molecular bowls containing a phenanthrene-based donor and Ru(II) acceptors

Authors Kim I, Song YH, Singh N, Jeong YJ, Kwon JE, Kim H, Cho Y, Kang SC, Chi K, An SSA

Received 9 May 2015

Accepted for publication 20 June 2015

Published 25 August 2015 Volume 2015:10(Special Issue on diverse applications in Nano-Theranostics) Pages 143—153

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IJN.S88287

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Chang Liu

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Prof. Dr. Thomas J Webster


Inhye Kim,1,* Young Ho Song,2,* Nem Singh,2 Yong Joon Jeong,3 Jung Eun Kwon,3 Hyunuk Kim,4 Young Mi Cho,3 Se Chan Kang,3 Ki-Whan Chi2

1Laboratory of Bio-Resources, Yongin-si, Gyeonggi-Do, 2Department of Chemistry, University of Ulsan, Ulsan, 3Department of Life Science, Gachon University, Seongnam, 4Energy Materials Lab, Korea Institute of Energy Research, Daejeon, Republic of Korea

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Abstract: Nano-sized multinuclear ruthenium complexes have rapidly emerged as promising therapeutic candidates with unique anticancer activities. Here, we describe the coordination-driven self-assembly and anticancer activities of a set of three organometallic tetranuclear Ru(II) molecular bowls. [2+2] Coordination-driven self-assembly of 3,6-bis(pyridin-3-ylethynyl)phenanthrene (bpep) (1) and one of the three dinuclear arene ruthenium clips, [(ƞ6-p-iPrC6H4Me)2Ru2-(OO\OO)][OTf]2 (OO\OO =2,5-dioxido-1,4-benzoquinonato, OTf = triflate) (2), 5,8-dioxido-1,4-naphthoquinonato (3), or 6,11-dioxido-5,12-naphthacenediona (4), resulted in three molecular bowls 5–7 of general formula [{(ƞ6-p-iPrC6H4Me)2Ru2-(OO\OO)}2(bpep)2][OTf]4. All molecular bowls were obtained as triflate salts in very good yields (>90%) and were fully characterized using multinuclear nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), electrospray ionization–mass spectrometry (ESI-MS), and elemental analysis. The structure of the representative molecular bowl 5 was confirmed by single-crystal X-ray diffraction analysis. The anticancer activities of molecular bowls 5–7 were determined by 3-[4,5-dimethylthiazol-2-yl]-2,5-diphenyltetrazolium bromide, autophagy, and Western blot analysis. Bowl 6 showed the strongest cytotoxicity in AGS human gastric carcinoma cells and was more cytotoxic than doxorubicin. In addition, autophagic activity and the ratio of apoptotic cell death increased in AGS cells by treatment with bowl 6. Bowl 6 also induced autophagosome formation via upregulation of p62 and promotion of the conversion of LC3-I to LC3-II. Moreover, bowl 6 promoted apoptotic cell death through downregulation of Akt/mTOR activation, followed by increased caspase-3 activity. These results suggest that bowl 6 induces gastric cancer cell death via modulation of autophagy and apoptosis. Bowl 6 is a potent anticancer agent and a potential treatment for human gastric cancer that merits further study.

Keywords: phenanthrene, ruthenium, coordination self-assembly, gastric cancer, Akt/mTOR

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