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Rhenium Carbonyl Complexes Conjugated with Methylated Triphenylphosphonium Cations as Sensitive Mitochondria Trackers for X-Ray Fluorescence Imaging

submitted on 12.04.2021, 07:34 and posted on 13.04.2021, 04:43 by Gabrielle Schanne, Lucas Henry, How Chee Ong, Andrea Somogyi, Kadda Medjoubi, Nicolas DELSUC, Clotilde Policar, Felipe Garcia, Hélène C. Bertrand
Synchrotron Radiation X-ray Fluorescence (SXRF) imaging is a powerful technique for the visualization of metal complexes in biological systems. However, due to the lack of an endogenous elemental signature for mitochondria, probes for the localization of this organelle are required for colocalization studies. In this work, we designed and synthesized rhenium pyta tricarbonyl complexes conjugated to methylated triphenylphosphonium TP*P+ cations as multimodal probes for the visualization of mitochondria, suitable for fluorescence and SXRF imaging and quantification. Accumulation of the methylated triphenylphosphonium TP*P+-based conjugates in cells was observed in fixed A549 cells, and the amount of mitochondrial uptake was linked to the lipophilicity of the TPP+ vector. Our work highlights a convenient rhenium-based multimodal mitochondrial-targeted probe compatible with SXRF nano-imaging.


IPV doctoral program

Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale for financial support (contract DIE20151234413, call « Pionniers de la recherche, Etudes physico-chimiques innovantes pour la biologie et la médecine)

Institut Curie (UMR9187)

A*STAR AME IRG A1783c0003

NTU start-up grant (M4080552)

MOE Tier 1 grants (RG 11/15 and RG 113/16)


Email Address of Submitting Author


LBM, Département de chimie, Ecole normale supérieure, PSL University, Sorbonne université, CNRS



ORCID For Submitting Author


Declaration of Conflict of Interest

The authors declare no conflict of interests.

Version Notes

Version 1 for both the manuscript and SI.