Which antioxidant system shapes intracellular H2O2 gradients?
Cellular antioxidant systems control the levels of hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) within cells. Multiple theoretical models exist that predict the diffusion properties of H2O2 depending on the rate of H2O2 generation and amount and reaction rates of antioxidant machinery components. Despite these theoretical predictions, it has remained unknown how antioxidant systems shape intracellular H2O2 gradients. The relative roles of thioredoxin and glutathione systems in H2O2 pattern formation and maintenance is another disputed question. Here we visualized cellular antioxidant activity and H2O2 gradients formation by exploiting chemogenetic approaches to generate compartmentalized intracellular H2O2 and using the H2O2 biosensor HyPer to analyze the resulting H2O2 distribution in specific subcellular compartments. Using human HeLa cells as a model system we propose that the thioredoxin system, but not the glutathione system, regulates intracellular H2O2 gradients.