Quantification of oxidative stress in live mouse embryonic fibroblasts by monitoring the responses of polyubiquitin genes

Han Wook Ryu, Kwon Yul Ryu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Stress-regulated polyubiquitin genes in mammals are expected to be upregulated under oxidative stress conditions. In order to assess gene regulation via the conventional method, the isolation of RNA molecules or the transfection of reporter constructs into cells is frequently required. If the stress response within cells can be monitored in a reversible manner with minimal manipulation, the study of the stress response pathways will become much easier. Herein, we have developed a simple fluorescence plate reader-based assay to monitor the stress responses of polyubiquitin genes in mouse embryonic fibroblasts, in which one allele of the ubiquitin-coding region of the polyubiquitin gene Ubb or Ubc was replaced by the eGFP-puro cassette, thereby placing GFP expression under the control of the endogenous polyubiquitin gene promoter. Using this simple assay, we established that both mammalian polyubiquitin genes are upregulated upon oxidative stress with slightly higher responses from the Ubb promoter. The principal advantage of this assay is that it allows for the monitoring of stress responses of polyubiquitin genes without disrupting cellular growth; this assay can therefore be applied repeatedly to the same cells. Furthermore, by calculating the increase in fluorescence deriving from newly synthesized GFP upon stress, which can be regarded as a bona fide polyubiquitin gene stress response, we were able to determine and directly compare the concentrations of various oxidative stressors that induce the similar cellular stress levels. Therefore, this simple assay may also be employed in the screening of potentially toxic reagents that induce the stress response pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)470-475
Number of pages6
JournalBiochemical and Biophysical Research Communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - 7 Jan 2011


  • Fluorescence plate reader
  • Green fluorescent protein
  • Mouse embryonic fibroblasts
  • Oxidative stress
  • Polyubiquitin gene


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