"Studying the secret life of organometallic complexes inside cells."

Who: Dr. Carlos Sanchez-Cano, University of Warwick, UK

Place: Donostia International Physics Center

Date: Friday, 15 December 2017, 11:00

Organometallic piano stool complexes are tuneable systems capable of acting as therapeutic agents1,2,3 and/or intracellular catalysts3,4,5. However, although their chemical behaviour and antiproliferative properties are well studied, the cellular mechanisms followed by these systems to produce the biological responses observed remain mostly unknown until now.

The recent development of new nanoprobes beamlines such as ID16A and ID16B (ESRF), or I08 and I14 (DIAMOND), allows focusing synchrotron radiation below 100x100 nm2. Performing nano-X-ray fluorescence (nano-XRF), nano-X-ray absorption spectroscopy (nano-XAS) and similar techniques on those beamlines enables direct detection of metals with unprecedented sensitivity, the spatial resolution required to analyse biological samples at subcellular level,2 and the ability to provide chemical information about the studied metal.6

These techniques are particularly suitable to explore the interaction of metal complexes with cells. State-of-the-art nanofocused synchrotron radiation is a powerful tool that allows to use a combination of different imaging and spectroscopic techniques to study their subcellular localisation and intracellular chemical behaviour with exceptional detail.2,6 This can help to obtain a better understanding of the intracellular targets and mechanisms followed by metal complexes ultimately leading to their biological effects in cells and organisms.


1.  Angew. Chem. Intl. Ed., 2017, 56, 1017

2.  Chem. Eur. J., 2017, 23, 2512

3.  Dalton Trans, 2016, 45, 8367

4.  Chem. Eur. J., 2015, 21, 8043

5.  Nat. Chem, Manuscript accepted

6.  Manuscript in preparation


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