Protein may provide effective way to study nitroxidative stress

May 29, 2014

 Laszlo Prokai
Laszlo Prokai, PhD, DSc
Katalin-Prokai-Tatrai
Katalin Prokai-Tatrai, PhD

A new protocol that helps scientists identify a protein that is changed by nitroxidated stress in the body has been developed by UNT Health Science Center researchers.

Previously there was no effective way to study nitroxidative stress, according to Laszlo Prokai, PhD, DSc, and Katalin Prokai-Tatrai, PhD, co-authors of the study online in a recent edition of Nature Protocols.

“Nitrated proteins are very difficult to find, much like finding a proverbial needle in a haystack,” said Dr. Prokai, Professor and Robert A. Welch Chair in Biochemistry in Pharmacology and Neuroscience.

“To find a needle in a haystack, you have to use a magnet,” said Dr. Prokai-Tatrai, Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Science. “We have developed the magnet.”

Oxidative stress is an imbalance between the production of oxygen free radicals and the body’s ability to detoxify their harmful effects. Nitroxidative stress that combines the impact of both oxygen and nitrogen free radicals is not as well-known because it is difficult to study. Nonetheless, both play central roles in aging, degenerative diseases and certain cancers.

“For the first time, the science community gets in their hands a method that is detailed and ready to use,” Dr. Prokai said. “We are giving scientists a tool to help solve open biomedical research questions surrounding nitroxidative stress.”

The protocol could eventually lead to the development of a tool that physicians could use for the diagnosis of many diseases, especially those affecting the brain.

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