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Methods. 2007 Jul;42(3):243-9.

Mass spectrometry-based analyses for identifying and characterizing S-nitrosylation of protein tyrosine phosphatases.

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National Core Facility for Proteomics Research, Academia Sinica, Taipei, Taiwan.


All members in the protein tyrosine phosphatase (PTP) family of enzymes contain an invariant Cys residue which is absolutely indispensable for catalysis. Due to the unique microenvironment surrounding the active center of PTPs, this Cys residue exhibits an unusually low pKa characteristic, thus being highly susceptible to oxidation or S-nitrosylation. While oxidation-dependent regulation of PTP activity has been extensively examined, the molecular details and biological consequences of PTP S-nitrosylation remain unexplored. We hypothesized that the catalytic Cys residue is targeted by proximal nitric oxide (NO) and its derivatives collectively termed reactive nitrogen species (RNS), leading to nitrosothiol formation concomitant with reversible inactivation of PTPs. To test this hypothesis, we have developed novel strategies to examine the redox status of Cys residues of purified PTP1B that was exposed to NO donor S-Nitroso-N-penicillamine (SNAP). A gel-based method in conjunction with mass spectrometry (MS) analysis revealed that the catalytic Cys215 of PTP1B was reversibly modified when PTP1B was briefly treated with SNAP. In order to further identify the exact mode of NO-induced modification, we employed an online LC-ESI-MS/MS analysis incorporating a mass difference-based, data-dependent acquisition function that effectively mapped the S-nitrosylated Cys residues. Our results demonstrated that treating PTP1B with SNAP led to S-nitrosothiol formation of the catalytic Cys215. Interestingly, SNAP-induced modifications were strictly reversible as highly oxidized Cys derivatives (Cys-SO(2)H or Cys-SO(3)H) were not identified by MS analyses. Thus, the methods introduced in this study provide direct evidence to prove the direct link between S-nitrosylation of the catalytic Cys residue and reversible inactivation of PTPs.

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