University of Michigan researchers say that they have devised a new way to observe how oxidative stress affects proteins inside the body.
The researchers have named their new technique OxICAT.
In an article published online in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS), Associate Professor Ursula Jakob has revealed that OxICAT makes it possible to quantify the oxidation state of thousands of different proteins in a single experiment.
The researcher said that she was intrigued to see many proteins that are not permanently damaged by reactive oxygen species, but use amino acids known as cysteines to sense oxidative stress.
"In my lab, we have been working for a long time on proteins that use cysteine as a reactive oxygen sensor," Ursula said.
"With this new technique, we discovered scores of novel proteins that are sensitive towards reactive oxygen species. Interestingly, we found that many of the proteins that we identified are important for the cells to survive oxidative stress conditions," she added.
Ursula and her colleagues are now using the OxICAT technique to better understand the molecular mechanism of aging, and what role oxidative stress plays in the process.
"Because oxidative stress plays such a prominent role in all these diseases, we want to understand why some cells and organisms can cope with the dangers of oxidative stress, while others die," said Lars Leichert, a postdoctoral research fellow in Jakob's lab and first author of the study.
The researchers believe that such an understanding may pave the way for more powerful and effective anti-oxidant strategies.