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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2003 Oct 10;310(1):242-6.

S-homocysteinylation of transthyretin is detected in plasma and serum of humans with different types of hyperhomocysteinemia.

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Stoffwechsellabor, Zentrum f├╝r Kinderheilkunde und Jugendmedizin, Universit├Ątsklinikum Freiburg, Mathildenstr. 1, D-79106 Freiburg, Germany.


While the association of homocystinuria with disease is known for more than four decades, mild hyperhomocysteinemia has been detected more recently as a risk factor for a number of diseases. However, the mechanism which apparently renders (even mild) hyperhomocystenemia harmful is not known. Following reports on N-homocysteinylation of proteins by the homocysteine derivative homocysteine thiolactone, it has been suggested that homocysteinylation of proteins may contribute to the induction of biological effects by homocysteine. This has prompted us to study by electrospray ionization mass spectrometry homocysteinylation of transthyretin (TTR) in plasma and serum of humans with different types of hyperhomocysteinemia. We did not detect any N-homocysteinylation, but found pronounced S-homocysteinylation of TTR, if the concentration of total homocysteine was high. Our findings support a possible role of S-homocysteinylation of proteins in the mediation of detrimental effects of hyperhomocysteinemia. Careful study of posttranslational modifications of individual proteins may contribute to a better understanding of diseases associated with hyperhomocysteinemia.

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