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Biochim Biophys Acta. 2010 Feb;1804(2):318-25. doi: 10.1016/j.bbapap.2009.10.010. Epub 2009 Oct 22.

Post-translational modifications of superoxide dismutase.

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Department of Chemistry, Juntendo University School of Health Care and Nursing, Japan.


Post-translational modifications of proteins control many biological processes through the activation, inactivation, or gain-of-function of the proteins. Recent developments in mass spectrometry have enabled detailed structural analyses of covalent modifications of proteins and also have shed light on the post-translational modification of superoxide dismutase. In this review, we introduce some covalent modifications of superoxide dismutase, nitration, phosphorylation, glutathionylaion, and glycation. Nitration has been the most extensively analyzed modification both in vitro and in vivo. Reaction of human Cu,Zn superoxide dismutase (SOD) with reactive nitrogen species resulted in nitration of a single tryptophan residue to 6-nitrotryptophan, which could be a new biomarker of a formation of reactive nitrogen species. On the other hand, tyrosine 34 of human MnSOD was exclusively nitrated to 3-nitrotyrosine and almost completely inactivated by the reaction with peroxynitrite. The nitrated MnSOD has been found in many diseases caused by ischemia/reperfusion, inflammation, and others and may have a pivotal role in the pathology of the diseases. Most of the post-translational modifications have given rise to a reduced activity of SOD. Since phosphorylation and nitration of SOD have been shown to have a possible reversible process, these modifications may be related to a redox signaling process in cells. Finally we briefly introduce a metal insertion system of SOD, focusing particularly on the iron misincorporation of nSOD, as a part of post-translational modifications.

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