Measurement of H2O2 within living Drosophila during aging using a ratiometric mass spectrometry probe targeted to the mitochondrial matrix

Cell Metab. 2011 Mar 2;13(3):340-50. doi: 10.1016/j.cmet.2011.02.003.


Hydrogen peroxide (H(2)O(2)) is central to mitochondrial oxidative damage and redox signaling, but its roles are poorly understood due to the difficulty of measuring mitochondrial H(2)O(2) in vivo. Here we report a ratiometric mass spectrometry probe approach to assess mitochondrial matrix H(2)O(2) levels in vivo. The probe, MitoB, comprises a triphenylphosphonium (TPP) cation driving its accumulation within mitochondria, conjugated to an arylboronic acid that reacts with H(2)O(2) to form a phenol, MitoP. Quantifying the MitoP/MitoB ratio by liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry enabled measurement of a weighted average of mitochondrial H(2)O(2) that predominantly reports on thoracic muscle mitochondria within living flies. There was an increase in mitochondrial H(2)O(2) with age in flies, which was not coordinately altered by interventions that modulated life span. Our findings provide approaches to investigate mitochondrial ROS in vivo and suggest that while an increase in overall mitochondrial H(2)O(2) correlates with aging, it may not be causative.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Chromatography, High Pressure Liquid / methods*
  • Drosophila / metabolism
  • Hydrogen Peroxide / analysis*
  • Mitochondria / metabolism*
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / analysis*
  • Organophosphorus Compounds / chemistry
  • Phenols / analysis*
  • Phenols / chemistry
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry / methods*


  • MItoB compound
  • MItoP compound
  • Organophosphorus Compounds
  • Phenols
  • Hydrogen Peroxide