• 100 years of metal coordination chemistry: from Alfred Werner to anticancer metallodrugs

      Barry, Nicolas P.E.; Sadler, P.J. (2014-12)
      Alfred Werner was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry just over 100 years ago. We recall briefly the era in which he was working, his co-workers, and the equipment he used in his laboratories. His ideas were ground breaking: not only does a metal ion have a primary valency (“hauptvalenz”, now the oxidation state), but also a secondary valency, the coordination number (“nebenvalenz”). At that time some refused to accept this idea, but he realised that his new thinking would open up new areas of research. Indeed it did. We illustrate this for the emerging field of medicinal metal coordination chemistry, the design of metal-based therapeutic and diagnostic agents. The biological activity of metal complexes depends intimately not only on the metal and its oxidation state, but also on the type and number of coordinated ligands, and the coordination geometry. This provides a rich platform in pharmacological space for structural and electronic diversity. It is necessary to control both the thermodynamics (strengths of metal-ligand bonds) and kinetics of ligand substitution reactions to provide complexes with defined mechanisms of action. Outer-sphere interactions can also play a major role in target recognition. Our current interest is focussed especially on relatively inert metal complexes which were very familiar to Werner (RuII, OsII, RhIII, IrIII, PtII, PtIV).
    • Arene ruthenium dithiolato-carborane complexes for boron neutron capture theory (BNCT)

      Romero-Canelón, I.; Phoenix, B.; Pitto-Barry, Anaïs; Tran, J.; Soldevila-Barreda, Joan J.; Kirby, N.; Green, S.; Sadler, P.J.; Barry, Nicolas P.E. (2015)
      We report the effect of low-energy thermal neutron irradiation on the antiproliferative activities of a highly hydrophobic organometallic arene ruthenium dithiolatoecarborane complex [Ru(p-cymene) (1,2- dicarba-closo-dodecarborane-1,2-dithiolato)] (1), and of its formulation in Pluronic® triblock copolymer P123 coreeshell micelles (RuMs). Complex 1 was highly active, with and without neutron irradiation, towards human ovarian cancer cells (A2780; IC50 0.14 mM and 0.17 mM, respectively) and cisplatinresistant human ovarian cancer cells (A2780cisR; IC50 0.05 and 0.13 mM, respectively). Complex 1 was particularly sensitive to neutron irradiation in A2780cisR cells (2.6 more potent after irradiation compared to non-irradiation). Although less potent, the encapsulated complex 1 as RuMs nanoparticles resulted in higher cellular accumulation (2.5 ), and was sensitive to neutron irradiation in A2780 cells (1.4 more potent upon irradiation compared to non-irradiation).
    • Controlled fabrication of osmium nanocrystals by electron, laser and microwave irradiation and characterisation by microfocus X-ray absorption spectroscopy

      Pitto-Barry, Anaïs; Geraki, K.; Horbury, M.D.; Stavros, V.G.; Mosselmans, J.F.W.; Walton, R.I.; Sadler, P.J.; Barry, Nicolas P.E. (2017-12)
      Osmium nanocrystals can be fabricated by electron (3–50 nm, formed by atom migration), 785–815 nm laser (20–50 nm, in micelle islands), and microwave (ca. 1 nm in arrays, >100 mg scale) irradiation of a polymer-encapsulated OsII carborane; microfocus X-ray absorption studies at the Os LIII-edge show differences between the three preparation methods, suggesting that the electron-beam irradiated materials have a significant support interaction and/or surface oxidation, while the laser and microwave samples are more like metallic osmium.
    • Dynamics of formation of Ru, Os, Ir and Au metal nanocrystals on doped graphitic surfaces

      Pitto-Barry, Anaïs; Sadler, P.J.; Barry, Nicolas P.E. (2016)
      The fabrication of precious metal (ruthenium, osmium, gold, and iridium) nanocrystals from single atoms has been studied in real-time. The dynamics of the first stage of the metal nanocrystallisation on a doped (B,S)-graphitic surface are identified, captured, and reported.
    • Fabrication of crystals from single metal atoms

      Barry, Nicolas P.E.; Pitto-Barry, Anaïs; Sanchez, A.M.; Dove, A.P.; Procter, R.J.; Soldevila-Barreda, Joan J.; Kirby, N.; Hands-Portman, I.; Smith, C.J.; O'Reilly, R.K.; et al. (2014)
      Metal nanocrystals offer new concepts for the design of nanodevices with a range of potential applications. Currently the formation of metal nanocrystals cannot be controlled at the level of individual atoms. Here we describe a new general method for the fabrication of multi-heteroatom-doped graphitic matrices decorated with very small, ångström-sized, three-dimensional (3D)-metal crystals of defined size. We irradiate boron-rich precious-metal-encapsulated self-spreading polymer micelles with electrons and produce, in real time, a doped graphitic support on which individual osmium atoms hop and migrate to form 3D-nanocrystals, as small as 15 Å in diameter, within 1 h. Crystal growth can be observed, quantified and controlled in real time. We also synthesize the first examples of mixed ruthenium–osmium 3D-nanocrystals. This technology not only allows the production of ångström-sized homo- and hetero-crystals, but also provides new experimental insight into the dynamics of nanocrystals and pathways for their assembly from single atoms.
    • Halide Control of N,N-Coordination versus N,C-Cyclometalation and Stereospecific Phenyl Ring Deuteration of Osmium(II) p-Cymene Phenylazobenzothiazole Complexes

      Needham, R.J.; Habtemariam, A.; Barry, Nicolas P.E.; Clarkson, G.; Sadler, P.J. (2017-11-09)
      We report the synthesis of halido Os(II) p-cymene complexes bearing bidentate chelating phenylazobenzothiazole (AZBTZ) ligands. Unlike the analogous phenylazopyridine (AZPY) complexes, AZBTZ-NMe2 is capable of both N,N-coordination to Os(II) and cyclometalation to form N,C-coordinated species. N,C-Coordination occurs via an azo nitrogen and an ortho carbon on the aniline ring, as identified by 1H NMR and X-ray crystallography of [Os(p-cym)(N,N-AZBTZ-NMe2)Cl]PF6 (1a), [Os(p-cym)(N,N-AZBTZ-NMe2)Br]PF6 (2a), [Os(p-cym)(N,C-AZBTZ-NMe2)Br] (2b), and [Os(p-cym)(N,C-AZBTZ-NMe2)I] (3b). The N,C-coordinated species is more stable and is not readily converted to the N,N-coordinated complex. Analysis of the crystal structures suggests that their formation is influenced by steric interactions between the p-cym and AZBTZ-NMe2 ligands: in particular, larger monodentate halide ligands favor N,C-coordination. The complexes [Os(p-cym)(N,N-Me2-AZBTZ-NH2)Cl]PF6 (4) and [Os(p-cym)(N,N-Me2-AZBTZ-NH2)I]PF6 (5) were synthesized with methyl groups blocking the ortho positions on the aniline ring, forcing an N,N-coordination geometry. 1H NMR NOE experiments confirmed hindered rotation of the arene ligand and steric crowding around the metal center. Complex 2b exhibited unexpected behavior under acidic conditions, involving regiospecific deuteration of the aniline ring at the meta position, as observed by 1H NMR and high-resolution ESI-MS. Deuterium exchange occurs only under acidic conditions, suggesting an associative mechanism. The calculated partial charges on 2b show that the meta carbon is significantly more negatively charged, which may account for the regiospecificity of deuterium exchange.
    • In vivo selectivity and localization of reactive oxygen species (ROS) induction by osmium anticancer complexes that circumvent platinum resistance

      Coverdale, J.P.C.; Bridgewater, H.E.; Song, J-I.; Smith, N.A.; Barry, Nicolas P.E.; Bagley, I.; Sadler, P.J.; Romero-Canelon, I. (2018-10)
      Platinum drugs are widely used for cancer treatment. Other precious metals are promising, but their clinical progress depends on achieving different mechanisms of action to overcome Pt-resistance. Here, we evaluate 13 organo-Os complexes: 16-electron sulfonyl-diamine catalysts [(η6-arene)Os(N,N′)], and 18-electron phenylazopyridine complexes [(η6-arene)Os(N,N’)Cl/I]+ (arene = p-cymene, biphenyl, or terphenyl). Their antiproliferative activity does not depend on p21 or p53 status, unlike cisplatin, and their selective potency toward cancer cells involves the generation of reactive oxygen species. Evidence of such a mechanism of action has been found both in vitro and in vivo. This work appears to provide the first study of osmium complexes in the zebrafish model, which has been shown to closely model toxicity in humans. A fluorescent osmium complex, derived from a lead compound, was employed to confirm internalization of the complex, visualize in vivo distribution, and confirm colocalization with reactive oxygen species generated in zebrafish.
    • In Vivo Selectivity and Localization of Reactive Oxygen Species (ROS) Induction by Osmium Anticancer Complexes That Circumvent Platinum Resistance

      Coverdale, J.P.C.; Bridgewater, H.E.; Song, J.-I.; Smith, N.A.; Barry, Nicolas P.E.; Bagley, I.; Sadler, P.J.; Romero-Canelon, I. (2018-10-25)
      Platinum drugs are widely used for cancer treatment. Other precious metals are promising, but their clinical progress depends on achieving different mechanisms of action to overcome Pt-resistance. Here, we evaluate 13 organo-Os complexes: 16-electron sulfonyl-diamine catalysts [(η6-arene)Os(N,N′)], and 18-electron phenylazopyridine complexes [(η6-arene)Os(N,N’)Cl/I]+ (arene = p-cymene, biphenyl, or terphenyl). Their antiproliferative activity does not depend on p21 or p53 status, unlike cisplatin, and their selective potency toward cancer cells involves the generation of reactive oxygen species. Evidence of such a mechanism of action has been found both in vitro and in vivo. This work appears to provide the first study of osmium complexes in the zebrafish model, which has been shown to closely model toxicity in humans. A fluorescent osmium complex, derived from a lead compound, was employed to confirm internalization of the complex, visualize in vivo distribution, and confirm colocalization with reactive oxygen species generated in zebrafish.
    • A multinuclear 1H, 13C and 11B solid-state MAS NMR study of 16- and 18-electron organometallic ruthenium and osmium carborane complexes

      Barry, Nicolas P.E.; Kemp, T.F.; Sadler, P.J.; Hanna, J.V. (2014-02)
      The first 1H, 13C, 31P and 11B solid state MAS NMR studies of electron- deficient carborane-containing ruthenium and osmium complexes [Ru/Os(p-cym)(1,2-dicarba-closo-dodecaborane-1,2- dithiolate)] are reported. The MAS NMR data from these 16-electron complexes are compared to those of free carborane-ligand and an 18-electron triphenylphosphine ruthenium adduct, and reveal clear spectral differences between 16- and 18-electron organometallic carborane systems in the solid state.
    • Nanoparticles of chitosan conjugated to organo-ruthenium complexes

      Wang, Y.; Pitto-Barry, Anaïs; Habtemariam, A.; Romero-Canelón, I.; Sadler, P.J.; Barry, Nicolas P.E. (2016)
      The synthesis of nanoparticles of conjugates of caffeic acid-modified chitosan with ruthenium arene complexes is described. The chemical structure and physical properties of the nanoparticles were characterised by electronic absorption spectroscopy (UV-vis), Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), 1H NMR spectroscopy, dynamic light scattering (DLS), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), X-ray powder diffraction (XRD), and circular dichroism (CD) analysis. The multi-spectral results revealed that caffeic acid is covalently bound to chitosan and chelates to {Ru(p-cymene)Cl}+. The DLS studies indicated that the Ru–caffeic acid modified chitosan nanoparticles are well-defined and of nanometre size. Such well-defined nanocomposites of chitosan and metal complexes might find a range of applications, for example in drug delivery.
    • Osmium atoms and Os2 molecules move faster on selenium-doped compared to sulfur-doped boronic graphenic surfaces

      Barry, Nicolas P.E.; Pitto-Barry, Anaïs; Tran, J.; Spencer, S.E.F.; Johansen, A.M.; Sanchez, A.M.; Dove, A.P.; O'Reilly, R.K.; Deeth, R.J.; Beanland, R.; et al. (2015-07)
      We deposited Os atoms on S- and Se-doped boronic graphenic surfaces by electron bombardment of micelles containing 16e complexes [Os(p-cymene)(1,2-dicarba-closo-dodecarborane-1,2-diselenate/dithiolate)] encapsulated in a triblock copolymer. The surfaces were characterized by energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX) analysis and electron energy loss spectroscopy of energy filtered TEM (EFTEM). Os atoms moved ca. 26× faster on the B/Se surface compared to the B/S surface (233 ± 34 pm·s–1 versus 8.9 ± 1.9 pm·s–1). Os atoms formed dimers with an average Os–Os distance of 0.284 ± 0.077 nm on the B/Se surface and 0.243 ± 0.059 nm on B/S, close to that in metallic Os. The Os2 molecules moved 0.83× and 0.65× more slowly than single Os atoms on B/S and B/Se surfaces, respectively, and again markedly faster (ca. 20×) on the B/Se surface (151 ± 45 pm·s–1 versus 7.4 ± 2.8 pm·s–1). Os atom motion did not follow Brownian motion and appears to involve anchoring sites, probably S and Se atoms. The ability to control the atomic motion of metal atoms and molecules on surfaces has potential for exploitation in nanodevices of the future.
    • Potent organometallic osmium compounds induce mitochondria-mediated apoptosis and S-phase cell cycle arrest in A549 non-small cell lung cancer cells

      van Rijt, S.H.; Romero-Canelón, I.; Fu, Y.; Shnyder, Steven D.; Sadler, P.J. (2014-03-26)
      The problems of acquired resistance associated with platinum drugs may be addressed by chemotherapeutics based on other transition metals as they offer the possibility of novel mechanisms of action. In this study, the cellular uptake and induction of apoptosis in A549 human non-small cell lung cancer cells of three promising osmium(II) arene complexes containing azopyridine ligands,[Os(Z6-arene)( p-R-phenylazopyridine)X]PF6, where arene is p-cymene or biphenyl, R is OH or NMe2, and X is Cl or I, were investigated. These complexes showed time-dependent (4–48 h) potent anticancer activity with highest potency after 24 h (IC50 values ranging from 0.1 to 3.6 mM). Cellular uptake of the three compounds as quantified by ICP-MS, was independent of their log P values (hydrophobicity). Furthermore, maximum cell uptake was observed after 24 h, with evident cell efflux of the osmium after 48 and 72 h of exposure, which correlated with the corresponding IC50 values. The most active compound 2, [Os(Z6-p-cymene)(NMe2-phenylazopyridine)I]PF6, was taken up by lung cancer cells pre-dominately in a temperature-dependent manner indicating that energy-dependent mechanisms are important in the uptake of 2. Cell fractionation studies showed that all three compounds accumulated mainly in cellular membranes. Furthermore, compound 2 induced apoptosis and caused accumulation in the S-phase of the cell cycle. In addition, 2 induced cytochrome c release and alterations in mito-chondrial membrane potential even after short exposure times, indicating that mitochondrial apoptotic pathways are involved. This study represents the first steps towards understanding the mode of action of this promising class of new osmium-based chemotherapeutics.
    • The potent oxidant anticancer activity of organoiridium catalysts

      Liu, Z.; Romero-Canelón, I.; Qamar, B.; Hearn, J.M.; Habtemariam, A.; Barry, Nicolas P.E.; Pizarro, A.M.; Clarkson, G.J.; Sadler, P.J. (2014-04)
      Platinum complexes are the most widely used anticancer drugs; however, new generations of agents are needed. The organoiridium(III) complex [(η5-Cpxbiph)Ir(phpy)(Cl)] (1-Cl), which contains π-bonded biphenyltetramethylcyclopentadienyl (Cpxbiph) and C^N-chelated phenylpyridine (phpy) ligands, undergoes rapid hydrolysis of the chlorido ligand. In contrast, the pyridine complex [(η5-Cpxbiph)Ir(phpy)(py)]+ (1-py) aquates slowly, and is more potent (in nanomolar amounts) than both 1-Cl and cisplatin towards a wide range of cancer cells. The pyridine ligand protects 1-py from rapid reaction with intracellular glutathione. The high potency of 1-py correlates with its ability to increase substantially the level of reactive oxygen species (ROS) in cancer cells. The unprecedented ability of these iridium complexes to generate H2O2 by catalytic hydride transfer from the coenzyme NADH to oxygen is demonstrated. Such organoiridium complexes are promising as a new generation of anticancer drugs for effective oxidant therapy.
    • Precious metal carborane polymer nanoparticles: characterisation of micellar formulations and anticancer activity

      Barry, Nicolas P.E.; Pitto-Barry, Anaïs; Romero-Canelón, I.; Tran, J.; Soldevila-Barreda, Joan J.; Hands-Portman, I.; Smith, C.J.; Kirby, N.; Dove, A.P.; O'Reilly, R.K.; et al. (2014)
      We report the encapsulation of highly hydrophobic 16-electron organometallic ruthenium and osmium carborane complexes [Ru/Os(p-cymene)(1,2-dicarba-closo-dodecarborane-1,2-dithiolate)] (1 and 2) in Pluronic® triblock copolymer P123 core–shell micelles. The spherical nanoparticles RuMs and OsMs, dispersed in water, were characterized by dynamic light scattering (DLS), cryogenic transmission electron microscopy (cryo-TEM), and synchrotron small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS; diameter ca. 15 and 19 nm, respectively). Complexes 1 and 2 were highly active towards A2780 human ovarian cancer cells (IC50 0.17 and 2.50 μM, respectively) and the encapsulated complexes, as RuMs and OsMs nanoparticles, were less potent (IC50 6.69 μM and 117.5 μM, respectively), but more selective towards cancer cells compared to normal cells.
    • Synthesis and controlled growth of osmium nanoparticles by electron irradiation

      Pitto-Barry, Anaïs; Perdigao, L.M.A.; Walker, M.; Lawrence, J.; Constantini, G.; Sadler, P.J.; Barry, Nicolas P.E. (2015)
      We have synthesised osmium nanoparticles of defined size (1.5–50 nm) on a B- and S-doped turbostratic graphitic structure by electron-beam irradiation of an organometallic osmium complex encapsulated in self-spreading polymer micelles, and characterised them by transmission electron microscopy (TEM), high-resolution TEM (HRTEM), and atomic force microscopy (AFM) on the same grid. Oxidation of the osmium nanoparticles after exposure to air was detected by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS).