Controlling the Reactivity of Ruthenium(II) Arene Complexes by Tether Ring-Opening

Ana M. Pizarro, Michael Melchart, Abraha Habtemariam, Luca Salassa, Francesca P. A. Fabbiani, Simon Parsons, Peter J. Sadler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The closed-and open-tethered Ru-II eta(6)-arene complexes [Ru-II(eta(6):eta(1)-C6H5(C6H4)NH2)(en)]Cl-2 (2) and [Ru-II(eta(6)-C6H5(C6H4)NH2)Cl(en)]Cl (3), where en is ethylenediamine, have been synthesized and their X-ray structures determined. Interconversion between 2 and 3, that is, tethered-arene ring-closure and ring-opening, in different solvents has been investigated. Complex 2 opens in dimethylsulfoxide (DMSO) by solvent-induced dissociation of the NH2 group of the pendant arm. In methanol, however, equilibrium between 2 and 3 is reached after 12 h when both species coexist in solution in a ratio of 2:1 (open/closed). In water (pH 7), complete ring closure of 3 to 2 at 298 K occurs in less than 2 h. The tether ring of complex 2 opens at basic pH and closes at neutral pH. Complex 2 opens over time (18 h) in concentrated HCl. The opening-closing process is fully reversible in the pH range 2-12. Density Functional Theory calculations have been used to obtain insights into the electronic structure of complexes 2 and 3, their UV vis properties, and their stability compared to their aqua derivatives. Control of tether-ring-opening can contribute toward a strategy for activation and for achieving cytotoxic selectivity of ruthenium arene anticancer drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3310-3319
Number of pages10
JournalInorganic Chemistry
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 5 Apr 2010


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