Probe Detects Hydrogen Peroxide | Chemical & Engineering News
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Web Date: April 5, 2007

Probe Detects Hydrogen Peroxide

Boronate-based fluorophores allow improved H2O2 detection in live cells
Department: Science & Technology

Interest in monitoring hydrogen peroxide in living cells has increased considerably now that it is not just considered a marker for oxidative stress and damage but also thought to be a messenger in cell signaling. However, H2O2 is challenging to monitor in live cells in real time because it is so reactive and difficult to distinguish from other oxygen species.

Now, assistant chemistry professor Christopher J. Chang and coworkers at the University of California, Berkeley, report two new boronate-based fluorophores—PG1 and PC1—for detecting H2O2 in living cells (Nat. Chem. Biol., DOI: 10.1038/nchembio871). Unlike diboronate-based probes, these molecules are turned on when H2O2 removes the single boronate group, releasing the fluorescent dye.

Using PG1, the researchers measured H2O2 produced in human epithelial cancer cells in response to epidermal growth factor. They then showed that they could also detect H2O2 in live neurons from the hippocampal region of the brain. Their data suggest that the neurons generate H2O2 through a pathway similar to the one used by cancer cells. The researchers are currently studying the similarities and differences of hydrogen peroxide signaling in various cell types.

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