Frex and FrexH: Indicators of metabolic states in living cells.
Reduced nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide (NADH) and its oxidized form play central roles in energy and redox metabolisms. For many years, researchers have relied on the weak NADH endogenous fluorescence signal to determine the NADH level in living cells. We recently reported a series of genetically encoded fluorescent sensors highly specific for NADH. These sensors allow real-time, quantitative measurement of this significant molecule in different subcellular compartments. In this study, we provide a more detailed discussion of the benefits and limitations of these genetically encoded fluorescent sensors. These sensors are utilized in most laboratories without the need for sophisticated instruments because of their superior sensitivity and specificity. They are also viable alternatives to existing techniques for measuring the endogenous fluorescence of intracellular NAD(P)H.