Inhibition of cell division and growth by a redox series of cyanine dyes

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Science  11 Apr 1980:
Vol. 208, Issue 4440, pp. 188-191
DOI: 10.1126/science.7361115


A series of cyanine dyes used in photography, with reduction potentials from -1.35 to -0.20 volts, were tested for their ability to inhibit mitosis and cell growth in fertilized sea urchin eggs. Low concentrations of dyes with reduction potentials more negative than -1.0 volt generally inhibited mitosis and growth, whereas those with more positive reduction potentials did not. The active dyes penetrated the cell, entered all subcellular compartments, were bound to numerous macromolecules, and inhibited synthesis of macromolecules. Thus mitosis and growth may be retarded with substances that can alter electrochemical activity in cells.

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