Practical guide for dynamic monitoring of protein oxidation using genetically encoded ratiometric fluorescent biosensors of methionine sulfoxide

Methods. 2016 Oct 15:109:149-157. doi: 10.1016/j.ymeth.2016.06.022. Epub 2016 Jun 23.


In cells, physiological and pathophysiological conditions may lead to the formation of methionine sulfoxide (MetO). This oxidative modification of methionine exists in the form of two diastereomers, R and S, and may occur in both free amino acid and proteins. MetO is reduced back to methionine by methionine sulfoxide reductases (MSRs). Methionine oxidation was thought to be a nonspecific modification affecting protein functions and methionine availability. However, recent findings suggest that cyclic methionine oxidation and reduction is a posttranslational modification that actively regulates protein function akin to redox regulation by cysteine oxidation and phosphorylation. Methionine oxidation is thus an important mechanism that could play out in various physiological contexts. However, detecting MetO generation and MSR functions remains challenging because of the lack of tools and reagents to detect and quantify this protein modification. We recently developed two genetically encoded diasterospecific fluorescent sensors, MetSOx and MetROx, to dynamically monitor MetO in living cells. Here, we provide a detailed procedure for their use in bacterial and mammalian cells using fluorimetric and fluorescent imaging approaches. This method can be adapted to dynamically monitor methionine oxidation in various cell types and under various conditions.

Keywords: Methionine; Methionine sulfoxide; Sensors.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bacteria / chemistry
  • Biosensing Techniques / methods*
  • Humans
  • Mammals
  • Methionine / analogs & derivatives*
  • Methionine / chemistry
  • Methionine / isolation & purification
  • Methionine Sulfoxide Reductases / chemistry*
  • Methionine Sulfoxide Reductases / genetics
  • Molecular Imaging / methods*
  • Oxidation-Reduction
  • Protein Processing, Post-Translational / genetics
  • Stereoisomerism


  • Methionine
  • Methionine Sulfoxide Reductases
  • methionine sulfoxide