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Mededovic, Milica; Simovic, Ana Rilak; Cocic, Dusan; Senft, Laura; Matic, Sanja; Todorovic, Danijela; Popovic, Suzana; Baskic, Dejan and Petrovic, Biljana (2022): New ruthenium(II) complexes with quinone diimine and substituted bipyridine as inert ligands: synthesis, characterization, mechanism of action, DNA/HSA binding affinity and cytotoxic activity. In: Dalton Transactions, Vol. 52, No. 5: pp. 1323-1344

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This paper presents the synthesis and structural characterization of a series of new ruthenium(II) complexes 1-7, with the general formula mer-[RuL3(N-N)Cl]Cl, where L is 2,2':6',2-terpyridine (tpy) or 4'-(4-chlorophenyl)-2,2':6',2-terpyridine (Cl-Ph-tpy) and N-N is o-benzoquinonediimine (o-bqdi), 2,3-naphthoquinonediimine (nqdi), 4,4'-dimethyl-2,2'-bipyridine (dmbpy) or 2,2'-bipyridine-4,4'-dicarboxylic acid (dcbpy). The kinetic results showed that the ligand substitution reactions of new Ru(II)-polypyridyl complexes with biomolecules were affected by different substituents and the aromaticity of meridional tridentate and bidentate spectator ligands as well as by the nature of the entering nucleophile. The reac-tivity of the complexes increases in the order: dmbpy < dcbipy < nqdi < o-bqdi. In addition, quantum chemical calculations were performed to support the interpretation and discussion of the experimental data. Furthermore, combining ethidium bromide (EB) and Hoechst 33258 (2-(4-hydroxyphenyl)-5-[5-(4-methylpiperazine-1-yl)benzimidazo-2-yl]-benzimidazole) fluorescence assay results implied that 1-7 might interact with calf thymus DNA through partial intercalation and/or minor groove binding. The human serum albumin (HAS)-fluorescence binding studies involving the site markers, eosin Y, as a marker for site I of subdomain IIA, and ibuprofen, as a marker for site II of subdomain IIIA, showed that Ru(II) com-pounds bind to both sites with moderately strong affinity (K-b = 10(4)-10(6) M-1). Moreover, these DNA/HSA experimental results were confirmed by molecular docking. Complexes 2, 5 and 6 exerted good to strong and highly selective cytotoxic activity against breast adenocarcinoma (MDA-MB 231), colorectal carcinoma (HCT116) and cervix adenocarcinoma (HeLa). Depending on their structure and cell line, the complexes acted differently in terms of their influence on autophagy, the cell cycle and the engaged apoptotic pathway.

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