Editorial

Duality. That is the word of order of this issue of our Newsletter. Dual roles of enzymes as anti or prooxidants, dual roles of autophagy to protect or kill cancer cells, dual roles of redox processes to signal physiological processes or to contribute to disease-promoting mechanisms, and so on. Duality is not surprising, as we see that all along nature. But it is confusing to the scientist, who for sure would love to classify processes as either beneficial or damaging, given the pattern-seeking way our minds are structured. Things become even more confusing in the redox biology/chemistry area, given the several extra levels at which a given process can bifurcate across the “light-or-dark”

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What is in a mechanism?

Francisco R. M. Laurindo
Vascular Biology Laboratory, Incor
University of São Paulo Medical School

If you care about science, you care about mechanisms. Or at least you should, if you care about doing good science. More than ever, there is a wide consensus that the quality of science is as good as the depth of mechanistic insights it carries. Powerful mechanisms appear everywhere: in articles from top journals, in discussions with good scientists, in decisions about grant priorities, academic career, etc. This is also uncomfortably felt in the rejection letters one gets nowadays, in which the lack of sufficient mechanistic insights is a chief reason for not achieving a high-impact publication

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Mitochondria and lysosomes: lords of life and death in cells?

by Mauricio da Silva Baptista

An important aim of our CEPID-Redoxoma is to develop diagnostic and therapeutic applications of redox processes. In this context, antioxidant therapies are at the frontline of our interests as a group. In parallel, however, a smaller but nonetheless significant group of strategies aim to explore prooxidant and stress-enhancing effects of distinct interventions, mainly to achieve selective toxicity towards damaged or tumor cells. The group of Prof. Mauricio S. Baptisata, from our CEPID-Redoxoma, has been exploring for more than a decade photo-induced compounds as a means to achieve such type of effects. Interestingly, this group recently provided a significant contribution

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The complex relationship between omega-3 fatty acids and neurodegenerative diseases

by Sayuri Miyamoto

Docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) is an omega-3 fatty acid that is well known by its health-promoting effects. Being highly abundant in the brain, DHA displays essential role in neurological and visual development in infants. In adults, the decline of DHA content in brain has been associated to cognitive impairment and the use of omega-3 supplements have been thought to exert neuroprotective effects. Indeed, some studies indicated that consuming DHA would be beneficial for the prevention of cognitive disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease [1]. However, a recent clinical study involving 4000 participants has

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Together for ever…: Cross-linking of proteins by a ditryptophan bond

Cross-linking of proteins by a ditryptophan bond

by Verônica Paviani

Oxidative modifications of proteins are extensively investigated because proteins are major targets of radicals and oxidants under physiological conditions [1]. The amino acid residues most susceptible to oxidation are the sulfur-containing residues cysteine and methionine and the aromatic residues histidine, phenylalanine, tyrosine and tryptophan. The oxidation of cysteine and methionine residues is reversible and protein-cysteine oxidation is emerging as a fundamental cell regulatory mechanism. In contrast, the oxidation of all other protein residues is irreversible, and may result in loss of protein

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Education Page

During the event “II Virada Científica” promoted by University of São Paolo at October, 17th and 18th the CEPID-Redoxoma group was Involved in science diffusion activities. About 160 people visited our activities during the event. The contribution of Cepid Redoxoma occurred in promoting experiments in a dark room named “Free, radicals and light”, two lectures named The fat, the slim and healthy – a conversation about metabolism, Sex, Chemistry and Power and presenting two educational games – Electron Transport Chain and ChemCards. Experimental activities were designed for an audience of children, youth and adults, many of them families. Four experiments were conducted

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Innovation Corner

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Enhanced mechanistic knowledge is a major aim of our CEPID-Redoxoma, well in line with the Redoxcope text of the present Newsletter issue. In parallel, at the other end of the spectrum, stands innovation, which is our interface with Society. Enhancing innovation is a prime objective of our science and technology system and a major component of the CEPID agenda. Our CEPID-Redoxoma is advancing into these fronts and we hope to turn such efforts into concrete achievements. To get an overview of the patent applications filed in the course of, or in connection with, our Redoxoma investigations, please share the following link: http://redoxoma.iq.usp.br/kfile_arquivo.php?id=1419

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How I see the future of redox research

Henry Jay Forman

by Henry Jay Forman

With this issue, we start a series of short texts about the theme “How I see the future of redox research”. The radical-free corner was really radical in this regard and invited several prominent colleagues from Brazil and abroad. These comments are meant to be highly personal accounts, by known experts, of the directions they foresee redox research. We are sure these short insertions will kick on our minds to help our thinking.

And we started in great style, with no one less than Prof. Henry Jay Forman, a long-standing investigator of the area. Prof. Forman is the Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry, University of California, Merced, and the former

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The two faces of peroxiredoxins

https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Janus_coin.png

by Larissa Anastácio da Costa Carvalho

In the antiquity, many cities protected their territories by surrounding fortifications, with giant gates and arches working as unique gateways. The Roman god Janus, known as the protector of entrances or new-beginnings, is represented by a head with two faces in opposite directions. The two faces of Janus symbolize the duality of nature. Well, nature itself is marked by dichotomy. What in nature cannot be good and bad at the same time? That is the origin of the term Janus effect.

A remarkable example of the Janus effect is the mustard gas (1,1-thiobis-2-chloroethane). Used as a chemical weapon during World War I, it causes serious inflammation of the

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The controversy about antibiotic lethality and reactive oxygen species

by José Freire da Silva Neto

Antibiotics are powerful compounds in our battle against bacterial diseases. Despite their miraculous efficacy over decades, nowadays we are faced with the global spreading of antibiotic resistance and the decrease of our antibiotic arsenal. For many years, we learned that antibiotics exert their effect by direct interaction with different primary bacterial targets, causing killing (bactericidal drugs) or growth inhibition (bacteriostatic drugs). In 2007, an influential paper from the Collins laboratory [1] placed reactive oxygen species (ROS) as central players in the mechanism of cell death induced by bactericidal antibiotics. Ever since

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