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J Am Chem Soc. 2012 Dec 26;134(51):20776-82. doi: 10.1021/ja3100287. Epub 2012 Dec 14.

Detection of α-synuclein amyloidogenic aggregates in vitro and in cells using light-switching dipyridophenazine ruthenium(II) complexes.

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Department of Chemistry, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77005, USA.


Protein aggregation is the hallmark of a number of neurodegenerative diseases including Parkinson's and Huntington's diseases. There is a significant interest in understanding the molecular mechanisms involved in the self-association and fibrillization of monomeric soluble proteins into insoluble deposits in vivo and in vitro. Probes with novel properties, such as red-shifted emission, large Stokes shifts, and high photostability, are desirable for a variety of protein aggregation studies. To respond to the increasing need for aggregation-responsive compounds suitable to cellular studies, we present a ruthenium(II) dipyridophenazine derivative, [Ru(phen)(2)dppz](2+) (phen =1,10-phenanthroline, dppz = dipyrido[3,2-a:2'.3'-c]phenazine), to study aggregation of α-synuclein (αS), which is associated with the development of Parkinson's disease. We demonstrated the use of [Ru(phen)(2)dppz](2+) to monitor αS fibril formation in real-time and to detect and quantify αS aggregates in neuroglioma cells, thereby providing a novel molecular tool to study protein deposition diseases in vitro and in vivo.

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