JAPAN: A system of compounds has been developed that can signal the presence of certain chemical compounds critical to cellular energy metabolism, as well as activating them.
The work demonstrates an approach that the authors suggest could be used to control or investigate cells. They describe their approach as ‘bioparallel chemistry’, emphasising the contrast with widely known bioorthogonal chemical reactions that do not interfere with biological processes native to the cell.
The researchers, a collaboration of researchers at Keio University and the International Centre for Materials Nanoarchitectonics at the National Institute for Materials Science, imaged nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide derivatives – NADH and NADPH.
The phosphorylated form, NADPH, is used in photosynthesis and NADH has been identified as a potential treatment for Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. The fluorescent compound developed to image NADH and NADPH was a molecule combining ubiquinone – an aromatic compound that has been shown to react NADH and NADPH in vitro – and the fluorophore rhodol.