A highly selective indicator for the amino acid cysteine has been
designed by scientists from the US and China to monitor levels in human
plasma. Elevated cysteine levels have been linked with motor neurone
disease, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.
an essential amino acid and plays an important role in cell functions.
Its structure contains both a sulfhydryl (-SH) and an amino group (-NH2),
both of which are reactive. Previous detectors have focused on
reactions with the sulfhydryl group, but it has been tricky to detect
cysteine over other SH-containing biomolecules in the blood, such as
glutathione and the closely related homocysteine. More...