Navigation Links
Biosensor for measuring stress in cells

Cancer, nervous system disorders such as Parkinsons disease, cardiovascular disorders and old age have one thing in common: Both in afflicted tissue and in aging cells, scientists have observed oxidative changes in important biomolecules. These are caused by reactive oxygen molecules, including the notorious free radicals that are formed as a by-product of cellular respiration and attack cellular proteins, nucleic and fatty acids.

Today, reactive oxygen molecules are no longer regarded by and large as culprits, since it has turned out that they are also involved in regulating major life processes such as growth and cell death. The right balance between oxidation and the reverse reaction, reduction, makes the difference between health and disease. Oxidative stress arises when this balance shifts towards oxidation-promoting processes.

So far, it has hardly been possible for scientists to measure the level of oxidation and, thus, the stress status of living cells. This will now be feasible thanks to a highly sensitive biomarker presented in the journal Nature Methods by Dr. Tobias Dick and co-workers of the German Cancer Research Center, jointly with colleagues from the University of Heidelberg.

The biosensor specifically measures the oxidation state of glutathione. This is an important protection molecule that captures a large portion of reactive oxygen molecules within a cell by oxidation. If much of a cells glutathione is present in an oxidized state, this is an important indicator of the cells overall oxidation level. The investigators equipped test cells with a fluorescent protein that reacts to changes in oxidation level by releasing light signals. Since the fluorescent protein on its own is not sensitive enough, it was coupled with an enzyme called glutaredoxin. This enzyme measures the oxidation state of glutathione and transmits the value to the fluorescent protein.

The stress biosensor developed by Dick and colleagues measures the slightest changes in the oxidation state of glutathione without destroying the cell. Even more relevant, however, is its precise time resolution, as Tobias Dick explains: In order to measure short-term variations of oxidation state, the systems needs to react instantly and dynamically. This is guaranteed with our biosensor, which works down to the scale of seconds. The measuring system allows researchers to determine those short-term variations that occur when reactive oxygen compounds are released as signaling molecules. However, the biosensor is equally suitable for use in pharmaceutical research, for example, to determine the effect of new substances or plant food constituents on oxidative processes and, thus, on the stress status of cells.


Contact: Dr. Sibylle Kohlstdt
Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres

Related biology news :

1. Carnegie Mellon scientists develop fluorescent proteins for live cell imaging, biosensor design
2. New field-deployable biosensor detects avian influenza virus in minutes instead of days
3. UCLA/VA partners with ASU to advance biosensor technology for urinary tract infections
4. New approach to measuring carbon in forests
5. Positron emission tomography superior to standard evaluation tools in measuring treatment response
6. Atmospheric measuring device for understanding smog formation
7. Mental stress reduces blood flow to the heart in patients with gene variation
8. Elastic stresses influence formation of leaf veins
9. New study finds uncontrollable stress worsens symptoms of endometriosis
10. New study finds anticipating a laugh reduces our stress hormones
11. Ski tourism stressing capercaillie
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/9/2015)... 09, 2015 ... the "Global Law Enforcement Biometrics Market ... --> ) has announced the ... Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report to their ... ( ) has announced the addition ...
(Date:10/29/2015)...   MedNet Solutions , an innovative SaaS-based eClinical ... research, is pleased to announce that it has been ... one of only three finalists for a 2015 ... Growing" category. The Tekne Awards honor Minnesota ... innovation and leadership. iMedNet™ eClinical ...
(Date:10/29/2015)... Oct. 29, 2015  Connected health pioneer, Joseph ... explosion of technology-enabled health and wellness, and the business ... The Internet of Healthy Things . ... smartphones even existed, Dr. Kvedar, vice president, Connected Health, ... care delivery, moving care from the hospital or doctor,s ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/24/2015)... --> --> ... by Transparency Market Research, the global non-invasive prenatal testing ... 17.5% during the period between 2014 and 2022. The ... Analysis, Size, Volume, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2014 ... to reach a valuation of US$2.38 bn by 2022. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... In harsh industrial ... points for in-line sensors can represent a weak spot where leaking process media ... of retractable sensor housings , which are designed to tolerate extreme process conditions. ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... LOS ANGELES , Nov. 24, 2015 ... a biotechnology company focused on the discovery, development and ... Marban , Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer, is scheduled to ... December 1, 2015 at 10:50 a.m. EST, at The ... York City . . ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... , ... Whitehouse Laboratories is pleased to announce that it has completed construction ... dedicated to basic USP 61, USP 62 and USP 51 testing specific to raw ... and micro testing performed by one supplier. Management has formally announced that ...
Breaking Biology Technology: