Transfer Hydrogenation and Antiproliferative Activity of Tethered Half-Sandwich Organoruthenium Catalysts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


  • Feng Chen
  • Joan J Soldevila-Barreda
  • Ji-Inn Song
  • James P C Coverdale
  • Guy J Clarkson
  • Jana Kasparkova
  • Abraha Habtemariam
  • Martin Wills
  • Viktor Brabec
  • Peter J Sadler

Colleges, School and Institutes

External organisations

  • Institute of Biophysics, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic, Kralovopolska 135, CZ-61265 Brno, Czech Republic.
  • Department of Chemistry, University of Warwick


We report the synthesis and characterization of four neutral organometallic tethered complexes, [Ru(η6-Ph(CH2)3-ethylenediamine-N-R)Cl], where R = methanesulfonyl (Ms, 1), toluenesulfonyl (Ts, 2), 4-trifluoromethylbenzenesulfonyl (Tf, 3), and 4-nitrobenzenesulfonyl (Nb, 4), including their X-ray crystal structures. These complexes exhibit moderate antiproliferative activity toward human ovarian, lung, hepatocellular, and breast cancer cell lines. Complex 2 in particular exhibits a low cross-resistance with cisplatin. The complexes show potent catalytic activity in the transfer hydrogenation of NAD+ to NADH with formate as hydride donor in aqueous solution (310 K, pH 7). Substituents on the chelated ligand decreased the turnover frequency in the order Nb > Tf > Ts > Ms. An enhancement of antiproliferative activity (up to 22%) was observed on coadministration with nontoxic concentrations of sodium formate (0.5-2 mM). Complex 2 binds to nucleobase guanine (9-EtG), but DNA appears not to be the target, as little binding to calf thymus DNA or bacterial plasmid DNA was observed. In addition, complex 2 reacts rapidly with glutathione (GSH), which might hamper transfer hydrogenation reactions in cells. Complex 2 induced a dose-dependent G1 cell cycle arrest after 24 h exposure in A2780 human ovarian cancer cells while promoting an increase in reactive oxygen species (ROS), which is likely to contribute to its antiproliferative activity.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1555-1566
Number of pages12
Issue number10
Early online date23 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 29 May 2018