skip to main content


Title: Redox Stability Controls the Cellular Uptake and Activity of Ruthenium‐Based Inhibitors of the Mitochondrial Calcium Uniporter (MCU)
Abstract

The mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) is the ion channel that mediates Ca2+uptake in mitochondria. Inhibitors of the MCU are valuable as potential therapeutic agents and tools to study mitochondrial Ca2+. The best‐known inhibitor of the MCU is the ruthenium compound Ru360. Although this compound is effective in permeabilized cells, it does not work in intact biological systems. We have recently reported the synthesis and characterization of Ru265, a complex that selectively inhibits the MCU in intact cells. Here, the physical and biological properties of Ru265 and Ru360 are described in detail. Using atomic absorption spectroscopy and X‐ray fluorescence imaging, we show that Ru265 is transported by organic cation transporter 3 (OCT3) and taken up more effectively than Ru360. As an explanation for the poor cell uptake of Ru360, we show that Ru360 is deactivated by biological reductants. These data highlight how structural modifications in metal complexes can have profound effects on their biological activities.

 
more » « less
Award ID(s):
1750295
NSF-PAR ID:
10136808
Author(s) / Creator(s):
 ;  ;  ;  ;  
Publisher / Repository:
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Date Published:
Journal Name:
Angewandte Chemie International Edition
Volume:
59
Issue:
16
ISSN:
1433-7851
Page Range / eLocation ID:
p. 6482-6491
Format(s):
Medium: X
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    The mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) is the ion channel that mediates Ca2+uptake in mitochondria. Inhibitors of the MCU are valuable as potential therapeutic agents and tools to study mitochondrial Ca2+. The best‐known inhibitor of the MCU is the ruthenium compound Ru360. Although this compound is effective in permeabilized cells, it does not work in intact biological systems. We have recently reported the synthesis and characterization of Ru265, a complex that selectively inhibits the MCU in intact cells. Here, the physical and biological properties of Ru265 and Ru360 are described in detail. Using atomic absorption spectroscopy and X‐ray fluorescence imaging, we show that Ru265 is transported by organic cation transporter 3 (OCT3) and taken up more effectively than Ru360. As an explanation for the poor cell uptake of Ru360, we show that Ru360 is deactivated by biological reductants. These data highlight how structural modifications in metal complexes can have profound effects on their biological activities.

     
    more » « less
  2. Abstract

    The mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) mediates uptake of calcium ions (Ca2+) into the mitochondria, a process that is vital for maintaining normal cellular function. Inhibitors of the MCU, the most promising of which are dinuclear ruthenium coordination compounds, have found use as both therapeutic agents and tools for studying the importance of this ion channel. In this study, six Co3+cage compounds with sarcophagine‐like ligands were assessed for their abilities to inhibit MCU‐mediated mitochondrial Ca2+uptake. These complexes were synthesized and characterized according to literature procedures and then investigated in cellular systems for their MCU‐inhibitory activities. Among these six compounds, [Co(sen)]3+(3, sen=5‐(4‐amino‐2‐azabutyl)‐5‐methyl‐3,7‐diaza‐1,9‐nonanediamine) was identified to be a potent MCU inhibitor, with IC50values of inhibition of 160 and 180 nM in permeabilized HeLa and HEK293T cells, respectively. Furthermore, the cellular uptake of compound3was determined, revealing moderate accumulation in cells. Most notably,3was demonstrated to operate in intact cells as an MCU inhibitor. Collectively, this work presents the viability of using cobalt coordination complexes as MCU inhibitors, providing a new direction for researchers to investigate.

     
    more » « less
  3. Abstract

    Inhibitors of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) are valuable tools for studying the role of mitochondrial Ca2+in various pathophysiological conditions. In this study, a new fluorogenic MCU inhibitor,RuOCou, is presented. This compound is an analogue of the known MCU inhibitor Ru265 that contains fluorescent axial coumarin carboxylate ligands. Upon aquation ofRuOCouand release of the axial coumarin ligands, a simultaneous increase in its MCU‐inhibitory activity and fluorescence intensity is observed. The fluorescence response of this compound enabled its aquation to be monitored in both HeLa cell lysates and live HeLa cells. This fluorogenic prodrug represents a potential theranostic MCU inhibitor that can be leveraged for the treatment of human diseases related to MCU activity.

     
    more » « less
  4. Abstract

    Inhibitors of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) are valuable tools for studying the role of mitochondrial Ca2+in various pathophysiological conditions. In this study, a new fluorogenic MCU inhibitor,RuOCou, is presented. This compound is an analogue of the known MCU inhibitor Ru265 that contains fluorescent axial coumarin carboxylate ligands. Upon aquation ofRuOCouand release of the axial coumarin ligands, a simultaneous increase in its MCU‐inhibitory activity and fluorescence intensity is observed. The fluorescence response of this compound enabled its aquation to be monitored in both HeLa cell lysates and live HeLa cells. This fluorogenic prodrug represents a potential theranostic MCU inhibitor that can be leveraged for the treatment of human diseases related to MCU activity.

     
    more » « less
  5. Abstract Background and Purpose

    Excitotoxicity due to mitochondrial calcium (Ca2+) overloading can trigger neuronal cell death in a variety of pathologies. Inhibiting the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) has been proposed as a therapeutic avenue to prevent calcium overloading. Ru265 (ClRu(NH3)4(μ‐N)Ru(NH3)4Cl]Cl3) is a cell‐permeable inhibitor of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter (MCU) with nanomolar affinity. Ru265 reduces sensorimotor deficits and neuronal death in models of ischemic stroke. However, the therapeutic use of Ru265 is limited by the induction of seizure‐like behaviours.

    Experimental Approach

    We examined the effect of Ru265 on synaptic and neuronal function in acute brain slices and hippocampal neuron cultures derived from mice, in control and where MCU expression was genetically abrogated.

    Key Results

    Ru265 decreased evoked responses from calyx terminals and induced spontaneous action potential firing of both the terminal and postsynaptic principal cell. Recordings of presynaptic Ca2+currents suggested that Ru265 blocks the P/Q type channel, confirmed by the inhibition of currents in cells exogenously expressing the P/Q type channel. Measurements of presynaptic K+currents further revealed that Ru265 blocked a KCNQ current, leading to increased membrane excitability, underlying spontaneous spiking. Ca2+imaging of hippocampal neurons showed that Ru265 increased synchronized, high‐amplitude events, recapitulating seizure‐like activity seenin vivo. Importantly, MCU ablation did not suppress Ru265‐induced increases in neuronal activity and seizures.

    Conclusions and Implications

    Our findings provide a mechanistic explanation for the pro‐convulsant effects of Ru265 and suggest counter screening assays based on the measurement of P/Q and KCNQ channel currents to identify safe MCU inhibitors.

     
    more » « less