Entry into Mitochondria to reveal oxidative secrets

Amogh Kulkarni, a graduate student at IISER Pune, India, writes on a recent OBC article

Recently, researchers from The University of Sydney, under the leadership of Dr. Elizabeth New, have reported a novel redox probe that selectively localises in Mitochondria. This fluorescent probe, NpFR2, has been used to identify the variations in the oxidative capacity of the haematopoietic cells.

Targeting Mitochondria has become one of the most important research protocols due to its immense importance to organelle-specific drug delivery. Mitochondria, being the power house of a cell, are the focus of researchers working in the area. Similarly, reactive oxygen species (ROS) have a key role and their levels are important in maintaining the redox homeostasis of the cell. A number of biological processes have been linked to mitochondrial ROS levels. These include response to hypoxia, immune responses, cellular differentiation and maturation, autophagy and ageing.

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In this paper, Dr. Elizabeth New et al., presents this novel compound that can be used reversibly and has a reduction potential within the biologically relevant range. To target mitochondria, a triphenyl phosphonium (TPP) group is been incorporated into the molecule. Further, they test this molecule in haematopoietic cells and can identify the mitochondrial ROS levels of different types of cells such as bone marrow macrophages, thymus and spleen.

NpFR2 can further be combined with other fluorescent probes and antibodies for further understanding of mitochondrial ROS in different cell processes.

Find out more in their Communication:

Mitochondrially targeted redox probe reveals the variations in oxidative capacity of the haematopoietic cells
Amandeep Kaur, Kurt W. L. Brigden, Timothy F. Cashman, Stuart T. Fraser and Elizabeth J. New
DOI: 10.1039/C5OB00928F

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