Navigation Links
New NIST method evaluates response to oxidation in live cells

Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have developed a new method for accurately measuring a key process governing a wide variety of cellular functions that may become the basis for a "health checkup" for living cells.

The NIST technique measures changes in a living cell's internal redox (reduction-oxidation) potential, a chemistry concept that expresses the favorability of reactions in which molecules or atoms either gain or lose electrons. Redox reactions are important to cell chemistry because they regulate many genes and the proteins they produce. An accurate measure of redox potential can provide insight into how well these genes are working, and in turn, whether or not the activities they controlsuch as differentiation and growthare functioning normally.

To assess this, scientists customarily measure the levels of both the reduced (electrons added) and oxidized (electrons lost) forms of glutathione, a peptide the cell uses as an antioxidant. Glutathione in cells is found predominately in the reduced state, known as GSH, but some gets converted to the oxidized form, known as GSSG. A high amount of GSSG indicates a cell has suffered oxidative stress, a process believed to contribute to cell aging, breakdown, malfunction (such as cancer) and eventual death.

Unfortunately, traditional methods of obtaining this data are akin to an autopsy. The only way to measure the relative amounts of GSH and GSSG within a cell has been to rupture its membranekilling itand then examine the released contents.

The NIST team developed a way to measure GSH and GSSG levels in living cells in real time using nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR)spectroscopy, a technique that images individual molecules similar to how doctors use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to noninvasively view organs. "NMR has been shown in recent years to be a powerful tool for studying metabolites as they operate in living cells, so we felt it could work well as a noninvasive way to do the same for GSH and GSSG," says NIST research chemist Vytas Reipa.

In their proof-of-concept experiment,* the NIST researchers grew a mutant strain of yeast cells that could not manufacture their own glutathione in a medium containing the peptide tagged with a nitrogen isotope. This ensured that the only glutathione available in the cells would be detectable using NMR during its conversion from GSH to GSSG.

GSH and GSSG levels were measured by NMR for both cells at rest and under oxidative stress, and then used to calculate the changing intracellular redox potentials over time. The results showed, for the first time ever, that redox potential can serve as an indicator of how cells perform in response to oxidation in real time.

"We know that when oxidation tips the balance toward too much GSSG, we get a redox potential shifted more to the positive than it should be," Reipa explains. "A healthy cell compensates by reversing the process and when that happens, the redox potential shifts back to its original value. A sick cell, on the other hand, does not compensate and the value stays positive. Therefore, an accurate in-cell measurement of redox potential could one day help us determine how well cells can recover from oxidative stress and, as a result, give us a picture of the cell's overall health."

Currently, the NIST researchers are exploring other NMR-detectable peptides involved in reduction and oxidation processes to conduct studies with mammalian cells.


Contact: Michael E. Newman
National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)

Related biology news :

1. Caltech-developed method for delivering HIV-fighting antibodies proven even more promising
2. New method developed for ranking disease-causal mutations within whole genome sequences
3. GW receives up to $14.6 million to develop method to characterize security threats
4. New method increases supply of embryonic stem cells
5. Gold nanoparticles help to develop a new method for tracking viruses
6. Developing methods for building precise nanostructures
7. Big data: A method for obtaining large, phylogenomic data sets
8. Discovery leads to patent for novel method of treating traumatic brain injury
9. Penn biologists establish new method for studying RNAs regulatory footprint
10. Updating air pollution measurement methods with air quality, health effects research
11. Most clinical studies on vitamins flawed by poor methodology
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
New NIST method evaluates response to oxidation in live cells
(Date:11/20/2015)... OXFORD, Connecticut , November 20, 2015 ... biometric authentication company focused on the growing mobile commerce ... its CEO, Gino Pereira , was recently interviewed ... The interview will air on this weekend on ... Bloomberg Latin America . --> NXTD ) ...
(Date:11/19/2015)... Nov. 19, 2015  Based on its in-depth analysis ... recognizes BIO-key with the 2015 Global Frost & Sullivan ... & Sullivan presents this award to the company that ... the needs of the market it serves. The award ... and expands on customer base demands, the overall impact ...
(Date:11/19/2015)... -- Although some 350 companies are actively involved in molecular ... according to Kalorama Information. These include Roche Diagnostics, Hologic, Abbott ... of the 6.1 billion-dollar molecular testing market, according to ... Diagnostic s .    ... one company and only a handful of companies can ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... SAN DIEGO , Nov. 25, 2015 ... that management will participate in a fireside chat discussion ... New York . The discussion is ... Time. .  A replay will ... Contact:  Media Contact:McDavid Stilwell  , Julie NormartVP, Corporate ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , November 25, 2015 ... Report is a professional and in-depth study on ...      (Logo: ) , ... the industry including definitions, classifications, applications and industry ... for the international markets including development trends, competitive ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Francisco, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 ... ... microbial genomics company uBiome, were featured on AngelList early in their initial angel ... launching an AngelList syndicate for individuals looking to make early stage investments in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia , Nov. 24, 2015 ... the global contract research organisation (CRO) market. The ... to result in lower margins but higher volume ... With increased capacity and scale, however, margins in ... Contract Research Organisation (CRO) Market ( ...
Breaking Biology Technology: