A new sensor to detect physiological levels of nitrate and nitrite

December 9, 2015, Tohoku University
A new sensor to detect physiological levels of nitrate and nitrite

A team led by Professor Takafumi Uchida has created a new technique for visualizing the dynamics of nitrate (NO3-) and nitrite (NO2−), both markers of nitric oxide in a cell. Nitric oxide is a critical second messenger in the body, playing roles in vascular homeostasis, neurotransmission and host defense.

The is called sNOOOpy which stands for "sensor for NO3-/NO2− in physiology." sNOOOpy is a genetically encoded intermolecular fluorescence resonance energy transfer (FRET)-based indicator that senses levels of nitrate and nitrite. sNOOOpy utilizes the NO3-/NO2—responsive two-component system of NasS and NasT system in the root nodule bacterium Bradyhizobium japonicum.

The researchers demonstrated with in vitro and cell culture studies that sNOOOpy can monitor intracellular levels in the micromolar range of nitrate and nitrite in real time. The authors say, "sNOOOpy is simple and potentially applicable to a wide variety of living cells. It is expected to provide insights into NO3−/NO2− dynamics in various organisms, including plants and animals." They also believe sNOOOpy will be useful for discovering new drugs and agricultural research.

This research was originally published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.

sNOOOpy is shown in a human cancer line, HeLa cell. NO3- concentration increasing at intervals. Credit: Takafumi Uchida (J. Biol. Chem, 2015)

sNOOOpy is shown in a human cancer line, HeLa cell. NO3- concentration is increasing at intervals of 10, 20, 30 min. Credit: Takafumi Uchida (J. Biol. Chem, 2015)

Explore further: Study confirms controversial nitrite hypothesis

More information: Visualization of NO3−/NO2− Dynamics in Living cells by Fluorescence Resonance Energy Transfer (FRET) Imaging Employing a Rhizobial Two-Component Regulatory System. Journal: Journal of Biological Chemistry , DOI: jbc.M115.687632

Related Stories

Study confirms controversial nitrite hypothesis

December 12, 2014

Understanding how nitrite can improve conditions such as hypertension, heart attack and stroke has been the object of worldwide research studies. New research from Wake Forest University has potentially moved the science ...

Breast milk study published by professor

October 25, 2010

Ask an expert to list the substances in breast milk that make it the ideal food for newborns and you may hear about proteins that guard against infection, fats that aid in the development of the nervous system and carbohydrates ...

Recommended for you

Collaboration yields discovery of 12-sided silica cages

June 20, 2018

What do you call a materials science discovery that was given a major boost by a lecture from a Nobel laureate in chemistry, used cryogenic electron microscopy (cryo-EM), and was pushed further along by a doctoral student's ...

On the path to an artificial cell

June 20, 2018

It is hoped that cells created in a test tube can answer some of the major questions in biology. What is the minimum that a cell needs in order to live? And how did life on Earth begin? Researchers from the Max Planck Institute ...

Novel genetic method improves efficiency of enzyme

June 20, 2018

Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy's (DOE's) National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the University of Georgia developed a new genetic engineering technique to dramatically improve an enzyme's ability to ...

0 comments

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.