World's first successful visualisation of key coenzyme

April 16, 2014
World's first successful visualisation of key coenzyme
Fluorescent imaging of HeLa cell. Credit: National Institute for Materials Science (NIMS)

Japanese researchers have successfully developed the world's first imaging method for visualising the behaviour of nicotine-adenine dinucleotide derivative (NAD(P)H), a key coenzyme, inside cells. This feat could ultimately facilitate the diagnosis of cancer and liver dysfunction and help to elucidate the mechanisms of neurological disorders.

A Japanese research team led by Drs. Hirokazu Komatsu and Katsuhiko Ariga of the International Center for Materials Nanoarchitectonics, in collaboration with Professors Yutaka Shido and Kotaro Oka of Keio University, have developed the world's first method for visualising the coenzyme nicotine-adenine dinucleotide derivative (NAD(P)H) inside cells.

Fluorescent imaging – used to identify and visualise cellular components by attaching a substance – is an effective method for exploring vital phenomena. Until now, however, the development of a method for visualising NAD(P)H, which plays a key role in various vital phenomena and diseases, has proven elusive due to the low reactivity of NAD(P)H to fluorescent substances.

The research group succeeded in developing a new fluorescent probe that specifically reacts with NAD(P)H, and achieved fluorescent imaging of NAD(P)H for the first time in the world, through the combined use of the new probe and an artificial promoter capable of promoting reactivity.

The new NADH imaging method could be used for various purposes, including: promoting early detection and supporting cancer treatment by detecting NADH leakage from invasive cancers; diagnosing by detecting excessive NADH caused by cirrhosis of the liver; and elucidating the lack of NADH in patients with brain or such as Alzheimer's Disease, depression, and Parkinson's Disease. The new method will also prove of great value in other life sciences research.

The research results will be published in a German scientific journal, Angewandte Chemie International Edition.

Explore further: Researchers find pathway and enzyme unique to tularemia organism

Related Stories

Fluorescent co-enzyme is an early indicator for breast cancer

October 1, 2009

( -- Think back to high-school biology and you may recall some basics about cellular respiration: how organelles called mitochondria function like little power stations, converting nutrients from food into a high-powered ...

Recommended for you

A new form of real gold, almost as light as air

November 25, 2015

Researchers at ETH Zurich have created a new type of foam made of real gold. It is the lightest form ever produced of the precious metal: a thousand times lighter than its conventional form and yet it is nearly impossible ...

Getting under the skin of a medieval mystery

November 23, 2015

A simple PVC eraser has helped an international team of scientists led by bioarchaeologists at the University of York to resolve the mystery surrounding the tissue-thin parchment used by medieval scribes to produce the first ...

Moonlighting molecules: Finding new uses for old enzymes

November 27, 2015

A collaboration between the University of Cambridge and MedImmune, the global biologics research and development arm of AstraZeneca, has led researchers to identify a potentially significant new application for a well-known ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.