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Anal Biochem. 1990 May 1;186(2):316-9.

Lucigenin chemiluminescence as a probe for measuring reactive oxygen species production in Escherichia coli.

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Department of Microbiology, Loma Linda University, California 92350.


Addition of oxygen to whole cells of Escherichia coli suspended in the presence of the chemiluminescent probe bis-N-methylacridinium nitrate (lucigenin) resulted in a light emission increase of 200% of control. Addition of air to cells showed a chemiluminescent response far less than the response to oxygen. The redox cycling agents paraquat and menadione, which are known to increase intracellular production of O2- and H2O2, were also found to cause a measurable increase in lucigenin chemiluminescence in E. coli cells when added at concentrations of 1 and 0.1 mM, respectively. The oxygen-induced chemiluminescent response was not suppressed by extracellularly added superoxide dismutase or catalase. Further, the lucigenin-dependent chemiluminescent response of aerobically grown E. coli to oxygen was significantly greater than that of cells grown anaerobically. Heat-killed cells showed no increase in chemiluminescence on the addition of either oxygen, paraquat, or menadione. These results show that lucigenin may be used as a chemiluminescent probe to demonstrate continuous intracellular production of reactive oxygen metabolites in E. coli.

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