Direct detection of reactive oxygen species (ROS), especially singlet oxygen, in plants under stress conditions is of special importance, not only to identify primary events of oxidative damage, but also in studies exploring the potential role of ROS as signal molecules. Due to short life-times and diffusion distances of ROS, these tasks require highly reactive and selective indicator reagents, localized at the presumed site of production. In the present study, we compared four double sensors: ROS indicator reagents in which partial fluorescence quenching of a dansyl moiety occurs as a result of nitroxide radical formation from a sterically hindered amine constituent. Our experiments support the idea that shorter donor-acceptor distances within these molecules result in higher reactivity to ROS. The presence of a diethylaminoethyl side chain resulted in better selectivity to singlet oxygen: reagents lacking such substituent had an additional reactivity to superoxide anions, probably as a result of the formation of zwitterionic structures. Fluorescence localization studies of the indicator reagents in tobacco leaves and in Chlamydomonas cells show promising perspectives of their applications to plant stress studies.
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Vol. 82 • No. 5