A comparative study on the interactions of human copper chaperone Cox17 with anticancer organoruthenium(II) complexes and cisplatin by mass spectrometry

J Inorg Biochem. 2016 Aug;161:99-106. doi: 10.1016/j.jinorgbio.2016.05.008. Epub 2016 May 15.


Herein we report investigation of the interactions between anticancer organoruthenium complexes, [(η(6)-arene)Ru(en)(Cl)]PF6 (en=ethylenediamine, arene=p-cymene (1) or biphenyl (2)), and the human copper chaperone protein Cox17 by mass spectrometry with cisplatin as a reference. The electrospray ionization mass spectrometry (ESI-MS) results indicate much weaker binding of the ruthenium complexes than that of cisplatin to apo-Cox172s-s, the functional state of Cox17. Up to tetra-platinated Cox17 adducts were identified while only mono-ruthenated and a little amount of di-ruthenated Cox17 adducts were detected even for the reactions with 10-fold excess of the Ru complexes. However, ESI-MS analysis coupled with liquid chromatography of tryptic digests of metalated proteins identified only three platination sites as Met4, Cys27 and His47 residues, possibly due to the lower abundance or facile dissociation of Pt bindings at other sites. Complexes 1 and 2 were found to bind to the same three residues with Met4 as the major site. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry results revealed that ~7mol Pt binding to 1mol apo-Cox172s-s molecules, compared to only 0.17 (1) and 0.10 (2) mol Ru to 1mol apo-Cox172s-s. This is in line with the circular dichroism results that much larger unfolding extent of α-helix of apo-Cox172s-s was observed upon cisplatin binding than that upon organoruthenium bindings. These results collectively indicate that Cox17 might not participate in the action of these anticancer organoruthenium complexes, and further verify the distinct anticancer mechanism of the organoruthenium(II) complexes from cisplatin.

Keywords: Anticancer agents; Cisplatin; Cox17; LC-ESI-MS; Organoruthenium complexes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Antineoplastic Agents / chemistry*
  • Carrier Proteins / chemistry*
  • Cisplatin / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Mass Spectrometry
  • Organoselenium Compounds / chemistry*


  • Antineoplastic Agents
  • COX17 protein, human
  • Carrier Proteins
  • Organoselenium Compounds
  • Cisplatin