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Making sense of hydrogen sulfide signalling
Fluorescent sensor molecules that detect hydrogen sulfide (H2S), a key biological signalling molecule, could form the basis of a new class of hydrogen sulfide–scavenging drugs.
The dysregulation of hydrogen sulfide levels in cells has been implicated in health conditions from cancer to diabetes. To combat the effects of excess hydrogen sulfide production, compounds are needed to curb its production, but they have proved hard to create.
Now, a team that included researchers from Tohoku University Graduate School of Medicine has taken a data-driven approach to develop compounds that lower hydrogen sulfide concentration. Rather than try to inhibit hydrogen sulfide production, they have developed scavenger molecules that can mop up hydrogen sulfide in biological environments.
The team designed the scavengers by analysing an existing range of fluorescent sensor molecules for hydrogen sulfide, which strongly and selectively bind hydrogen sulfide. A series of molecules based on sulfonyl azide–based sensors demonstrated promising hydrogen sulfide scavenging performance in cellular environments.
- Angewandte Chemie 58, 10898–10902 (2019). doi: 10.1002/anie.201905580