Quantifying the dynamics of bacterial secondary metabolites by spectral multiphoton microscopy

Nora L. Sullivan, Dimitrios S. Tzeranis, Yun Wang, Peter T.C. So, Dianne Newman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Scopus citations


Phenazines, a group of fluorescent small molecules produced by the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, play a role in maintaining cellular redox homeostasis. Phenazines have been challenging to study in vivo due to their redox activity, presence both intra- and extracellularly, and their diverse chemical properties. Here, we describe a noninvasive in vivo optical technique to monitor phenazine concentrations within bacterial cells using time-lapsed spectral multiphoton fluorescence microscopy. This technique enables simultaneous monitoring of multiple weakly fluorescent molecules (phenazines, siderophores, NAD(P)H) expressed by bacteria in culture. This work provides the first in vivo measurements of reduced phenazine concentration as well as the first description of the temporal dynamics of the phenazine-NAD(P)H redox system in Pseudomonas aeruginosa, illuminating an unanticipated role for 1-hydroxyphenazine. Similar approaches could be used to study the abundance and redox dynamics of a wide range of small molecules within bacteria, both as single cells and in communities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)893-899
Number of pages7
JournalACS chemical biology
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Biochemistry


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