Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Engineering chimeric polypeptides to illuminate cellular redox states

UIUC interdisciplinary team reports the design of chimeric polypeptides leading to development of noninvasive biosensors for potential application in biomedical research.

Reduction/oxidation (redox) systems research is reaching a stage where domains that traditionally belonged to the physical sciences, chemistry, and molecular biology are coming together to offer new synergistic opportunities for understanding and manipulating basic cellular processes that underlie complex biomedical problems (e.g., tumorigenesis).

Parallel with this advance is the emerging recognition that the intracellular redox environment exerts a profound influence on the normal cellular processes of DNA synthesis, enzyme activation, selective gene expression, cell cycle progression, proliferation, differentiation, and apoptosis. However, this is a difficult area of study and molecular mechanisms mediating redox sensitivity are poorly defined.

An interdisciplinary research team from the University of Illinois’ Institute for Genomic Biology (IGB) report in the February issue of the journal Experimental Biology and Medicine the engineering of novel peptide sequences that are sensitive to redox conditions inside cells.

“Attachment of linkers between a special pair of green fluorescent proteins (GFP) shows great promise for developing genetically encoded redox sensitive biosensors,” said Vladimir L. Kolossov, corresponding author. To detect oxidation and reduction, the biosensor uses a powerful optical technique called Förster resonance energy transfer (FRET).

The absence of polypeptide linkers able to sense the redox state by undergoing a conformational change was the major obstacle to a FRET-based redox sensor. The researchers designed the linker sequence such that in its reduced state the linker is an α-helix. Thiol groups, strategically placed throughout the linker, sense the redox potential of the environment and form disulfide bonds upon oxidation.

Under oxidative conditions intramolecular disulfide bonds can form, shifting the free energy minimum from the α-helix, to a “clamped-coil” state (similar to a helix-coil transition). The coiled state allows the two fluorescent proteins to approach closer than in the extended helix state, where they can more efficiently exchange excitation energy (i.e., a high FRET state). The extent of energy transfer is easily quantified from the increased emission of the acceptor.

This is the first step towards development of a FRET-based biosensor for visualizing redox potentials and oxidative stress in live cells and tissues via optical microscopy.

“We employed a sensitive technique for measuring FRET to screen our linkers. This methodology greatly expedited the quantitative analysis and development of the linkers and will be very useful for the development of other FRET-based sensors,” said Bryan Q. Spring, a doctoral student and co-author of the publication. Given the importance of the intracellular redox state in determining a cell’s fate, and the increasing evidence that perturbations in the redox state are associated with cancer and various inflammatory disorders as well as aging, FRET-based redox sensors offer significant promise for understanding molecular mechanisms underlying human health and disease.

Dr. Steven R. Goodman, Editor-in-Chief of Experimental Biology and Medicine, said “Altered redox status is a hallmark of many diseases ranging from neurological disorders, such as Alzheimer’s Disease, to hematologic disorders such as Sickle Cell Disease. The development of a FRET-based biosensor to measure oxidative stress in living cells would be of enormous benefit to biomedical researchers working in many diverse fields. This is precisely the type of interdisciplinary effort that the new Experimental Biology and Medicine hopes to provide to the international scientific community.”

Dr. Vladimir L. Kolossov | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Interdisciplinary Research:

nachricht Lego-like wall produces acoustic holograms
17.10.2016 | Duke University

nachricht New evidence on terrestrial and oceanic responses to climate change over last millennium
11.10.2016 | University of Granada

All articles from Interdisciplinary Research >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Innovative technique for shaping light could solve bandwidth crunch

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Finding the lightest superdeformed triaxial atomic nucleus

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

NASA's MAVEN mission observes ups and downs of water escape from Mars

20.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

More VideoLinks >>>