Transplasma membrane electron transport from HeLa cells, measured by reduction of ferricyanide or diferric transferrin in the presence of bathophenanthroline disulfonate, is inhibited by low concentrations of adriamycin and adriamycin conjugated to diferric transferrin. Inhibition with the conjugate is observed at one-tenth the concentration required for adriamycin inhibition. The inhibitory action of the conjugate appears to be at the plasma membrane since (a) the conjugate does not transfer adriamycin to the nucleus, (b) the inhibition is observed within three minutes of addition to cells, and (c) the inhibition is observed with NADH dehydrogenase and oxidase activities of isolated plasma membranes. Cytostatic effects of the compounds on HeLa cells show the same concentration dependence as for enzyme inhibition. The adriamycin-ferric transferrin conjugate provides a more effective tool for inhibition of the plasma membrane electron transport than is given by the free drug. © 1992.
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