Terpyridine-platinum(II) complexes are effective inhibitors of mammalian topoisomerases and human thioredoxin reductase 1

Yan Chung Lo, Tzu Ping Ko, Wen Chi Su, Tsann Long Su, Andrew H.J. Wang

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97 Citations (Scopus)


Terpyridine-platinum(II) (TP-Pt(II)) complexes are known to possess DNA-intercalating activity and have been regarded as potential antitumor agents. However, their cytotoxic mechanism remains unclear. To investigate the possible mechanism, a series of TP-Pt(II) compounds were prepared and their biological activities assessed. The DNA binding activities of the aromatic thiolato[TP-Pt(II)] complexes were stronger than the aliphatic 2-hydroxylethanethiolato(2,2′:6′,2′′-terpyridine)platinum(II) [TP(HET)]. TP-Pt(II) complexes inhibited topoisomerase IIα or topoisomerase I activity at IC50 values of about 5 μM and 10-20 μM, respectively, whereas the human thioredoxin reductase 1 (hTrxR1) activity was inhibited with IC50 values in the range of 58-78 nM. At the cellular level, they possessed cytotoxicity with IC50 values between 7 and 19 μM against HeLa cells. Additionally, using X-ray crystallography and matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) mass spectrometry, we elucidated that the TP-Pt(II) complexes inhibited hTrxR1 activity by blocking its C-terminal active-site selenocysteine. Therefore, TP-Pt(II) complexes possess inhibitory activities against multiple biological targets, and they may be further studied as anticancer agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1082-1092
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Inorganic Biochemistry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Anticancer drug
  • Crystal structure
  • Cytotoxicity
  • DNA intercalators
  • Synthesis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Inorganic Chemistry


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