From medium to endoplasmic reticulum: Tracing anticancer phenolato titanium(IV) complex by 19F NMR detection

Gilad Nahari, Roy E. Hoffman, Edit Y. Tshuva*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Titanium(IV) complexes of diaminobis(phenolato)-bis(alkoxo) ligands are promising anticancer drugs, showing marked in-vivo efficacy with no toxic side-effects in mice, hence, it is of interest to elucidate their mechanism of action. Herein, we employed a fluoro-substituted derivative, FenolaTi, for mechanistic analysis of the active species and its cellular target by quantitative 19F NMR detection to reveal its biodistribution and reactivity in extracellular and intracellular matrices. Upon administration to the serum-containing medium, FenolaTi interacted with bovine serum albumin. 20 h post administration, the cellular accumulation of FenolaTi derivatives was estimated as 37% of the administered compound, in a concentration three orders-of-magnitude higher than the administered dose, implying that active membrane transportation facilitates cellular penetration. An additional 19% of the administered dose that was detected in the extracellular environment had originated from post-apoptotic cells. In the cell, interaction with cellular proteins was detected. Although some intact Ti(IV) complex localized in the nucleus, no signals for isolated DNA fractions were detected and no reactivity with nuclear proteins was observed. Interestingly, higher accumulation of FenolaTi-derived compounds in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and interaction with proteins therein were detected, supporting the role of the ER as a possible target for cytotoxic bis(phenolato)-bis(alkoxo) Ti(IV) complexes.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number111492
JournalJournal of Inorganic Biochemistry
StatePublished - Aug 2021

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  • Anticancer
  • Biodistribution
  • Cisplatin
  • F NMR spectroscopy
  • Metallodrug
  • Titanium(IV)


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