Interactions of carboplatin and oxaliplatin with proteins: Insights from X-ray structures and mass spectrometry studies of their ribonuclease A adducts

J Inorg Biochem. 2015 Dec;153:136-142. doi: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2015.07.011. Epub 2015 Jul 21.


Oxaliplatin and carboplatin are two platinum(II) drugs in widespread clinical use for the treatment of various types of cancers; yet, structural information on their interactions with proteins is scarce. Here, the X-ray structures of the adducts formed upon reaction of carboplatin and oxaliplatin with bovine pancreatic ribonuclease (RNase A) are reported and compared with results obtained for the structure of the RNase A-cisplatin adduct derived from isomorphous crystals, under the same experimental conditions. Additional details on the binding mode of these metallodrugs toward RNase A are provided by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI MS) measurements, thus offering insight on the occurring metal-protein interactions. Notably, while carboplatin and cisplatin mainly bind the side chain of Met29, oxaliplatin also binds the side chains of Asp14, of catalytically important His119 and, to a lesser extent, of His105. On the basis of the available data, a likely mechanism for oxaliplatin hydrolysis and binding to the protein is proposed. These results are potentially useful for a better understanding of the biological chemistry, toxicity and side effects of this important class of antitumor agents.

Keywords: Cancer; Mass spectrometry; Medicinal chemistry; Platinum; X-ray crystallography.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aspartic Acid / chemistry
  • Carboplatin / chemistry*
  • Cattle
  • Cisplatin / chemistry
  • Crystallography, X-Ray
  • Glutamine / chemistry
  • Histamine / chemistry
  • Methionine / chemistry
  • Organoplatinum Compounds / chemistry*
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Ribonuclease, Pancreatic / chemistry*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Electrospray Ionization


  • Organoplatinum Compounds
  • Oxaliplatin
  • Glutamine
  • Aspartic Acid
  • Histamine
  • Methionine
  • Carboplatin
  • Ribonuclease, Pancreatic
  • Cisplatin