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Int J Stem Cells. 2019 Jul 31;12(2):367-379. doi: 10.15283/ijsc18151.

Monitoring Glutathione Dynamics and Heterogeneity in Living Stem Cells.

Author information

1
Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Seoul National University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
2
BK21 Plus Biomedical Science Project, Seoul National University, Seoul, Korea.
3
Cell2in, Inc., Seoul, Korea.
4
Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.
5
Department of Chemistry, Korea University, Seoul, Korea.
6
Metabolab. Inc., Seoul, Korea.

Abstract

Glutathione (GSH) is a major antioxidant in cells, and plays vital roles in the cellular defense against oxidants and in the regulation of redox signals. In a previous report, we demonstrated that stem cell function is critically affected by heterogeneity and dynamic changes in cellular GSH concentration. Here, we present a detailed protocol for the monitoring of GSH concentration in living stem cells using FreSHtracer, a real-time GSH probe. We describe the steps involved in monitoring GSH concentration in single living stem cells using confocal microscopy and flow cytometry. These methods are simple, rapid, and quantitative, and able to demonstrate intracellular GSH concentration changes in real time. We also describe the application of FreSHtracer to the sorting of stem cells according to their GSH content using flow cytometry. Typically, microscopic or flow cytometric analyses of FreSHtracer and MitoFreSHtracer signals in living stem cells take ~2~3 h, and the fractionation of stem cells into subpopulations on the basis of cellular GSH levels takes 3~4.5 h. This method could be applied to almost every kind of mammalian cell with minor modifications to the protocol described here.

KEYWORDS:

Fluorescent probes; Glutathione; Real-time monitoring; Stem cells

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