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Biogerontology. 2000;1(3):217-23.

Carnosine reacts with protein carbonyl groups: another possible role for the anti-ageing peptide?

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Biomolecular Sciences Division, GKT School of Biomedical Sciences, King's College London, Guy's Campus London Bridge, London EC1 1UL, UK.


Carnosine (beta-alanyl-L-histidine) can delay senescence and provoke cellular rejuvenation in cultured human fibroblasts. The mechanisms by which such a simple molecule induces these effects is not known despite carnosine's well documented anti-oxidant and oxygen free-radical scavenging activities. Carbonyl groups are generated on proteins post-synthetically by the action of reactive oxygen species and glycating agents and their accumulation is a major biochemical manifestation of ageing. We suggest that, in addition to the prophylactic actions of carnosine, it may also directly participate in the inactivation/disposal of aged proteins possibly by direct reaction with the carbonyl groups on proteins. The possible fates of these 'carnosinylated' proteins including the formation of inert lipofuscin, proteolysis via the proteasome system and exocytosis following interaction with receptors are also discussed. The proposal may point to a hitherto unrecognised mechanism by which cells/organisms normally defend themselves against protein carbonyls.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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