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J Agric Food Chem. 2002 Nov 20;50(24):6997-7006.

Structural and functional characterization of pronyl-lysine, a novel protein modification in bread crust melanoidins showing in vitro antioxidative and phase I/II enzyme modulating activity.

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Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Lebensmittelchemie, Lichtenbergstrasse 4, D-85748 Garching, Germany.


Application of an in vitro antioxidant assay to solvent fractions isolated from bread crust, bread crumb, and flour, respectively, revealed the highest antioxidative potential for the dark brown, ethanol solubles of the crust, whereas corresponding crumb and flour fractions showed only minor activities. To investigate whether these browning products may also act as antioxidants in biological systems, their modulating activity on detoxification enzymes was investigated as a functional parameter in intestinal Caco-2 cells. The bread crust and, in particular, the intensely brown, ethanolic crust fraction induced a significantly elevated glutathione S-transferase (GST) activity and a decreased phase I NADPH-cytochrome c reductase (CCR) activity compared to crumb-exposed cells. Antioxidant screening of Maillard-type model mixtures, followed by structure determination, revealed the pyrrolinone reductones 1 and 2 as the key antioxidants formed from the hexose-derived acetylformoin and N(alpha)-acetyl-L-lysine methyl ester or glycine methyl ester, chosen as model substances to mimic nonenzymatic browning reactions with the lysine side chain or the N terminus of proteins, respectively. Quantitation of protein-bound pyrrolinone reductonyl-lysine, abbreviated pronyl-lysine, revealed high amounts in the bread crust (62.2 mg/kg), low amounts in the crumb (8.0 mg/kg), and the absence of this compound in untreated flour. Exposing Caco-2 cells for 48 h to either synthetically pronylated albumin or purified pronyl-glycine (3) significantly increased phase II GST activity by 12 or 34%, respectively, thus demonstrating for the first time that "pronylated" proteins as part of bread crust melanoidins act as monofunctional inducers of GST, serving as a functional parameter of an antioxidant, chemopreventive activity in vitro.

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