Ruthenium complexes as antimicrobial agents

Fangfei Li, J. Grant Collins*, F. Richard Keene*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

344 Citations (Scopus)


One of the major advances in medical science has been the development of antimicrobials; however, a consequence of their widespread use has been the emergence of drug-resistant populations of microorganisms. There is clearly a need for the development of new antimicrobials – but more importantly, there is the need for the development of new classes of antimicrobials, rather than drugs based upon analogues of known scaffolds. Due to the success of the platinum anticancer agents, there has been considerable interest in the development of therapeutic agents based upon other transition metals – and in particular ruthenium(II/III) complexes, due to their well known interaction with DNA. There have been many studies of the anticancer properties and cellular localisation of a range of ruthenium complexes in eukaryotic cells over the last decade. However, only very recently has there been significant interest in their antimicrobial properties. This review highlights the types of ruthenium complexes that have exhibited significant antimicrobial activity and discusses the relationship between chemical structure and biological processing – including site(s) of intracellular accumulation – of the ruthenium complexes in both bacterial and eukaryotic cells.
Original languageEnglish
Article number44
Pages (from-to)2529-2542
Number of pages14
JournalChemical Society Reviews
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 27 Feb 2015
Externally publishedYes


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