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Biochem J. 1999 Jun 15;340 ( Pt 3):657-69.

Protein modification during biological aging: selective tyrosine nitration of the SERCA2a isoform of the sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase in skeletal muscle.

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Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry, University of Kansas, Simons Building, 2095 Constant Avenue, Lawrence, KS 66047, USA.


The accumulation of covalently modified proteins is an important hallmark of biological aging, but relatively few studies have addressed the detailed molecular-chemical changes and processes responsible for the modification of specific protein targets. Recently, Narayanan et al. [Narayanan, Jones, Xu and Yu (1996) Am. J. Physiol. 271, C1032-C1040] reported that the effects of aging on skeletal-muscle function are muscle-specific, with a significant age-dependent change in ATP-supported Ca2+-uptake activity for slow-twitch but not for fast-twitch muscle. Here we have characterized in detail the age-dependent functional and chemical modifications of the rat skeletal-muscle sarcoplasmic-reticulum (SR) Ca2+-ATPase isoforms SERCA1 and SERCA2a from fast-twitch and slow-twitch muscle respectively. We find a significant age-dependent loss in the Ca2+-ATPase activity (26% relative to Ca2+-ATPase content) and Ca2+-uptake rate specifically in SR isolated from predominantly slow-twitch, but not from fast-twitch, muscles. Western immunoblotting and amino acid analysis demonstrate that, selectively, the SERCA2a isoform progressively accumulates a significant amount of nitrotyrosine with age (approximately 3.5+/-0. 7 mol/mol of SR Ca2+-ATPase). Both Ca2+-ATPase isoforms suffer an age-dependent loss of reduced cysteine which is, however, functionally insignificant. In vitro, the incubation of fast- and slow-twitch muscle SR with peroxynitrite (ONOO-) (but not NO/O2) results in the selective nitration only of the SERCA2a, suggesting that ONOO- may be the source of the nitrating agent in vivo. A correlation of the SR Ca2+-ATPase activity and covalent protein modifications in vitro and in vivo suggests that tyrosine nitration may affect the Ca2+-ATPase activity. By means of partial and complete proteolytic digestion of purified SERCA2a with trypsin or Staphylococcus aureus V8 protease, followed by Western-blot, amino acid and HPLC-electrospray-MS (ESI-MS) analysis, we localized a large part of the age-dependent tyrosine nitration to the sequence Tyr294-Tyr295 in the M4-M8 transmembrane domain of the SERCA2a, close to sites essential for Ca2+ translocation.

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