Successful minimizing the size of biological thiol detection tools

December 14, 2023

Providing a new detection method for molecules essential for life activities

As changes in the amounts of biological thiols (biothiols) are associated with various diseases, it is important to examine the amount of biothiols at specific locations in cells. As markers, which are essential to observe target molecules in cells, fluorescent probes have been used in general.

For biothiol detection, more than 80 types of fluorescent probes have been developed as they must be selected to match the target and visualization method. However, there have been constraints to reduce the sizes of the probes since fluorescent dyes have a relatively large structure (molecular weight > 200).

A research group from Tohoku University, Osaka University, RIKEN CPR, and the RIKEN CSRS has developed the world’s smallest biothiol detection probe, ThioRas (molecular weight = 167), without using fluorescent dyes. The Raman scattering of ThioRas is changed by binding to biothiols, and the research group succeeded in measuring thiol concentration via Raman imaging. ThioRas, which is small and highly soluble in water, exhibits a uniform distribution in cell. This characteristic suggests that ThioRas will be useful as a tool that allows simultaneous measurement of biothiol concentrations at multiple locations within the cell.

Original article
Chemical Communications doi: 10.1039/D3CC05015G
H. Yamakoshi, D. Shibata, K. Bando, S. Kajimoto, A. Kohyama, S. Egoshi, K. Dodo, Y. Iwabuchi, M. Sodeoka, K. Fujita, T. Nakabayashi ,
"Ratiometric analysis of reversible thia-Michael reactions using nitrile-tagged molecules by Raman microscopy".
Syusuke Egoshi; Research Scientist
Kosuke Dodo; Senior Research Scientist
Mikiko Sodeoka; Group Director
Catalysis and Integrated Research Group