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Redox Biol. 2018 Jun;16:199-208. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2018.02.023. Epub 2018 Mar 2.

Insights into the HyPer biosensor as molecular tool for monitoring cellular antioxidant capacity.

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Laboratorio de Biología Celular, Instituto de Nutrición y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Universidad de Chile, Chile.
Programa de Fisiología y Biofísica, Instituto de Ciencias Biomédicas, Facultad de Medicina, Universidad de Chile, Chile; Millennium Nucleus of Ion Channels-Associated Diseases (MiNICAD), Universidad de Chile, Chile.
Laboratorio de Biología Celular, Instituto de Nutrición y Tecnología de los Alimentos, Universidad de Chile, Chile; Centro de Investigación en Alimentos para el Bienestar en el Ciclo Vital (ABCvital), Universidad de Chile, Chile. Electronic address:


Aerobic metabolism brings inexorably the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS), which are counterbalanced by intrinsic antioxidant defenses avoiding deleterious intracellular effects. Redox balance is the resultant of metabolic functioning under environmental inputs (i.e. diet, pollution) and the activity of intrinsic antioxidant machinery. Monitoring of intracellular hydrogen peroxide has been successfully achieved by redox biosensor advent; however, to track the intrinsic disulfide bond reduction capacity represents a fundamental piece to understand better how redox homeostasis is maintained in living cells. In the present work, we compared the informative value of steady-state measurements and the kinetics of HyPer, a H2O2-sensitive fluorescent biosensor, targeted at the cytosol, mitochondrion and endoplasmic reticulum. From this set of data, biosensor signal recovery from an oxidized state raised as a suitable parameter to discriminate reducing capacity of a close environment. Biosensor recovery was pH-independent, condition demonstrated by experiments on pH-clamped cells, and sensitive to pharmacological perturbations of enzymatic disulfide reduction. Also, ten human cell lines were characterized according their H2O2-pulse responses, including their capacity to reduce disulfide bonds evaluated in terms of their migratory capacity. Finally, cellular migration experiments were conducted to study whether migratory efficiency was associated with the disulfide reduction activity. The migration efficiency of each cell type correlates with the rate of signal recovery measured from the oxidized biosensor. In addition, HyPer-expressing cells treated with N-acetyl-cysteine had accelerated recovery rates and major migratory capacities, both reversible effects upon treatment removal. Our data demonstrate that the HyPer signal recovery offers a novel methodological tool to track the cellular impact of redox active biomolecules.


Antioxidant capacity; Biosensor; Fluorescence; HyPer; Living cells

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