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Free Radic Biol Med. 2008 May 1;44(9):1700-11. doi: 10.1016/j.freeradbiomed.2007.12.031. Epub 2008 Jan 4.

Oxidative modification of cytochrome c by singlet oxygen.

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Department of Biochemistry, School of Medicine, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH 44106-4935, USA.


Singlet oxygen ((1)O(2)) is a reactive oxygen species that may be generated in biological systems. Photodynamic therapy generates (1)O(2) by photoexcitation of sensitizers resulting in intracellular oxidative stress and induction of apoptosis. (1)O(2) oxidizes amino acid side chains of proteins and inactivates enzymes when generated in vitro. Among proteogenic amino acids, His, Tyr, Met, Cys, and Trp are known to be oxidized by (1)O(2) at physiological pH. However, there is a lack of direct evidence of oxidation of proteins by (1)O(2). Because (1)O(2) is difficult to detect in cells, identifying oxidized cellular products uniquely derived from (1)O(2) could serve as a marker of its presence. In the present study, (1)O(2) reactions with model peptides analyzed by tandem mass spectrometry provide insight into the mass of prominent adducts formed with the reactive amino acids. Analysis by MALDI-TOF and tandem mass spectrometry of peptides of cytochrome c exposed to (1)O(2) generated by photoexcitation of the phthalocyanine Pc 4 showed unique oxidation products, which might be used as markers of the presence of (1)O(2) in the mitochondrial intermembrane space. Differences in the elemental composition of the oxidized amino acid residues observed with cytochrome c and the model peptides suggest that the protein environment can affect the oxidation pathway.

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