Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Chemical probe confirms that body makes its own rotten egg gas, H2S, to benefit health

19.06.2013
Chemists develop chemical probe to help scientists study mechanics of critical signaling molecules, such as H2S, and to study how hydrogen sulfide benefits cardiovascular health
A new study confirms directly what scientists previously knew only indirectly: The poisonous “rotten egg” gas hydrogen sulfide is generated by our body’s growing cells.

Hydrogen sulfide, or H2S, is normally toxic, but in small amounts it plays a role in cardiovascular health.

In the new study, chemists developed a chemical probe that reacts and lights up when live human cells generate hydrogen sulfide, says chemist Alexander R. Lippert, Southern Methodist University, Dallas. The discovery allows researchers to observe the process through a microscope.

The researchers captured on video the successful chemical probe at work, said Lippert, an assistant professor in the SMU Department of Chemistry.

“We made a molecular probe that, when it reacts with hydrogen sulfide, forms a fluorescent compound that can be visualized using fluorescence microscopy,” Lippert said. “This is the first time that endogenously generated hydrogen sulfide has been directly visualized in a living system. This confirms a lot of hypotheses that scientists have, but no one had the tools to directly detect it in real time.”

H2S is one of several small gaseous molecules increasingly recognized as key signaling molecules in the body. For example, H2S helps reduce high blood pressure. Scientists discovered in the past decade that cells in the human body generate small quantities of H2S molecules, which in turn deliver information to proteins. The proteins act on the information to perform critical functions in the body.

Previously, scientists couldn’t observe H2S being generated in live cells. As a result, researchers faced challenges when studying hydrogen sulfide in living systems, Lippert said. The new discovery now provides a tool to view directly how and when hydrogen sulfide is generated, he said. Lippert and study co-author chemist Vivian S. Lin made the discovery.

Discovery provides research tool for scientists to observe H2S in live cells
“Having the tools to do this in living systems is going to open up a lot of possibilities and experiments for scientists,” Lippert said. “As a tool, this will allow researchers to ask questions that weren’t possible before.”
Lippert’s real-time video features live human cells, taken from the lining of blood vessels and treated with the chemical probe and with a protein known to promote cell growth. Once the cells start generating H2S, they behave like squiggly fluorescent green worms.

The researchers’ scientific article, “Cell-trappable fluorescent probes for endogenous hydrogen sulfide signaling and imaging H2O2-dependent H2S production,” was published online in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Lippert and Lin authored the research with Christopher J. Chang, principal investigator. Lin is a PhD candidate at the University of California at Berkeley. Chang is with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, University of California at Berkeley. Lippert and Lin carried out the research in Chang’s UC Berkeley laboratory.

Discovery can help scientists attack diseases such as cancer
H2S — along with nitric oxide, carbon monoxide and others in this emerging class of gaseous signaling molecules — assists the body’s large proteins.
Large proteins do much of the functional work in the body, such as digesting the food we eat and harnessing the energy in the oxygen we breathe. Their size, however, forces them to move slowly inside the cell. In contrast, H2S and other small gaseous molecules diffuse quickly and easily across cellular membranes, enabling them to travel much faster and rapidly deliver information that mediates critical functions, such as blood pressure regulation, Lippert said.

For their experiments, Lippert and Lin placed living endothelial cells cultured from the internal lining of a blood vessel into a petri dish under a microscope.
Lippert and Lin then added a chemical solution containing an azide-functionalized organic molecule that they’d synthesized to act as a molecular probe. They gave the cells time to absorb the probe, then added a protein solution known to stimulate blood vessel formation. As the cells initiated blood vessel formation, H2S was generated. In reaction, the scientists observed a steady increase in the probe’s fluorescence.

“Essentially we’re observing the initial events that lead to the building of new blood vessels, a process that’s active in babies as they develop, or in women during their menstruation cycles,” Lippert said. “We see the cells get really bright as they start moving around and ruffling their membranes. That’s the H2S being formed. In the control group, which weren’t stimulated with the growth protein, they don’t get any brighter and they don’t move around.”

The discovery provides new insights that can help scientists attack diseases, such as cancer, by starving the nutrient supply to a tumor, Lippert said.

“When tumors grow they need a lot of blood support because they need the nutrients to support their rapid growth,” he said. “If you can stop blood vessel formation you could starve the tumor and the tumor will die. So inhibiting H2S formation might be a way to treat cancer using this method.”

Follow SMUResearch.com on Twitter.

For more information, www.smuresearch.com.

SMU is a nationally ranked private university in Dallas founded 100 years ago. Today, SMU enrolls nearly 11,000 students who benefit from the academic opportunities and international reach of seven degree-granting schools. For more information see www.smu.edu.

SMU has an uplink facility located on campus for live TV, radio, or online interviews. To speak with an SMU expert or book an SMU guest in the studio, call SMU News & Communications at 214-768-7650.

Margaret Allen | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.smu.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling
07.12.2016 | National Centre for Biological Sciences

nachricht Transforming plant cells from generalists to specialists
07.12.2016 | Duke University

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Significantly more productivity in USP lasers

In recent years, lasers with ultrashort pulses (USP) down to the femtosecond range have become established on an industrial scale. They could advance some applications with the much-lauded “cold ablation” – if that meant they would then achieve more throughput. A new generation of process engineering that will address this issue in particular will be discussed at the “4th UKP Workshop – Ultrafast Laser Technology” in April 2017.

Even back in the 1990s, scientists were comparing materials processing with nanosecond, picosecond and femtosesecond pulses. The result was surprising:...

Im Focus: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

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

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NTU scientists build new ultrasound device using 3-D printing technology

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

The balancing act: An enzyme that links endocytosis to membrane recycling

07.12.2016 | Life Sciences

How to turn white fat brown

07.12.2016 | Health and Medicine

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>