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Reaction-Based Genetically Encoded Fluorescent Hydrogen Sulfide Sensors

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posted on 20.02.2016, 19:39 by Si Chen, Zhi-jie Chen, Wei Ren, Hui-wang Ai
The detection of hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a toxic gas and an important biological signaling molecule, has been a long-time challenge. Here we report genetically encoded fluorescent protein (FP)-based probes that can selectively detect H2S. By expanding the genetic codes of E. coli and mammalian cells, FP chromophores were modified with the sulfide-reactive azide functional group. These structurally modified chromophores were selectively reduced by H2S, resulting in sensitive fluorescence enhancement detectable by spectroscopic and microscopic techniques. Exploration of a circularly permuted FP led to an improved sensor with faster responses, and the feasibility of using such a genetically encoded probe to monitor H2S in living mammalian cells has also been demonstrated.