Light-Triggered Trafficking to the Cell Nucleus of a Cationic Polyamidoamine Functionalized with Ruthenium Complexes

Luca Mascheroni, Valentina Francia, Beatrice Rossotti, Elisabetta Ranucci, Paolo Ferruti, Daniela Maggioni*, Anna Salvati*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

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Strategies for endosomal escape and access to the cell nucleus are highly sought for nanocarriers to deliver their load efficiently following endocytosis. In this work, we have studied the uptake and intracellular trafficking of a polycationic polyamidoamine (PAA) endowed with a luminescent Ru complex, Ru-PhenAN, that shows unique trafficking to the cell nucleus. Live cell imaging confirmed the capacity of this polymer to access the nucleus, excluding artifacts due to cell fixation, and clarified that the mechanism of escape is light-triggered and relies on the presence of the Ru complexes and their capacity to absorb light and act as photosensitizers for singlet oxygen production. These results open up the possibility to use PAA-ruthenium complexes for targeted light-triggered delivery of genetic material or drugs to the cytosol and nucleus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)34576-34587
Number of pages12
JournalACS Applied Materials & Interfaces
Issue number31
Publication statusPublished - 5-Aug-2020


  • endosomal escape
  • light-triggered escape
  • luminescent ruthenium complexes
  • nuclear trafficking
  • polyamidoamines

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