Currently, information about oxidative stress response comes primarily from studies using reactive oxygen species with ill-defined locations within the cell, Boston College researchers said. That, they said, means existing models don't account for possible differences between stresses originating within particular regions of the cell.
But through the use of novel synthetic intracellular targeting molecules that contain oxygen species-generating compounds that cause oxidative stress, the researchers have targeted specific locations within the cell -- notably the nucleus and mitochondrion -- and observed how those molecules interact with nucleic acids.
That process, they said, will make it easier to determine what parts of a cell are most likely to combat the effects of oxidative stress and which are weaker, the researchers said.
Such knowledge, they said, might lead to the development of toxic agents that could be used, for example, to attack cancer at the sub-cellular level.
The research appears in the journal Chemistry & Biology.