Small organic molecules arouse lively interest for their plethora of possible biological applications, such as anticancer therapy, for their ability to interact with nucleic acids, or bioimaging, thanks to their fluorescence emission. Here, a panchromatic series of styryl-azinium bicationic dyes, which have already proved to exhibit high water-solubility and significant red fluorescence in water, were investigated through spectrofluorimetric titrations to assess the extent of their association constants with DNA and RNA. Femtosecond-resolved transient absorption spectroscopy was also employed to characterize the changes in the photophysical properties of these fluorophores upon interaction with their biological targets. Finally, in vitro experiments conducted on tumor cell lines revealed that some of the bicationic fluorophores had a peculiar localization within cell nuclei exerting important antiproliferative effects, others were instead found to localize in the cytoplasm without leading to cell death, being useful to mark specific organelles in light of live cell bioimaging. Interestingly, this molecule-dependent behavior matched the different amphiphilicity featured by these bioactive compounds, which are thus expected to be caught in a tug-of-war between lipophilicity, ensured by the presence of aromatic rings and needed to pass cell membranes, and hydrophilicity, granted by charged groups and necessary for stability in aqueous media.

Amphiphilicity-Controlled Localization of Red Emitting Bicationic Fluorophores in Tumor Cells Acting as Bio-Probes and Anticancer Drugs

Bonaccorso C.;Fortuna C. G.;
2022

Abstract

Small organic molecules arouse lively interest for their plethora of possible biological applications, such as anticancer therapy, for their ability to interact with nucleic acids, or bioimaging, thanks to their fluorescence emission. Here, a panchromatic series of styryl-azinium bicationic dyes, which have already proved to exhibit high water-solubility and significant red fluorescence in water, were investigated through spectrofluorimetric titrations to assess the extent of their association constants with DNA and RNA. Femtosecond-resolved transient absorption spectroscopy was also employed to characterize the changes in the photophysical properties of these fluorophores upon interaction with their biological targets. Finally, in vitro experiments conducted on tumor cell lines revealed that some of the bicationic fluorophores had a peculiar localization within cell nuclei exerting important antiproliferative effects, others were instead found to localize in the cytoplasm without leading to cell death, being useful to mark specific organelles in light of live cell bioimaging. Interestingly, this molecule-dependent behavior matched the different amphiphilicity featured by these bioactive compounds, which are thus expected to be caught in a tug-of-war between lipophilicity, ensured by the presence of aromatic rings and needed to pass cell membranes, and hydrophilicity, granted by charged groups and necessary for stability in aqueous media.
antiproliferative effect
bications
bioimaging
cell-permeant dyes
far-red emission
lipophilicity
nucleic acid binders
ultrafast transient absorption spectroscopy
DNA
Ionophores
Spectrum Analysis
Water
Antineoplastic Agents
Fluorescent Dyes
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11769/541200
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? 0
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 0
social impact