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Anal Bioanal Chem. 2012 Apr;403(2):431-41. doi: 10.1007/s00216-012-5823-z. Epub 2012 Feb 21.

Glutathione peroxidase inhibitory assay for electrophilic pollutants in diesel exhaust and tobacco smoke.

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Department of Epidemiology, School of Medicine, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697, USA.


We developed a rapid kinetic bioassay demonstrating the inhibition of glutathione peroxidase 1 (GPx-1) by organic electrophilic pollutants, such as acrolein, crotonaldehyde, and p-benzoquinone, that are frequently found as components of tobacco smoke, diesel exhaust, and other combustion sources. In a complementary approach, we applied a high-resolution proton-transfer reaction time-of-flight mass spectrometer to monitor in real-time the generation of electrophilic volatile carbonyls in cigarette smoke. The new bioassay uses the important antioxidant selenoenzyme GPx-1, immobilized to 96-well microtiter plates, as a probe. The selenocysteine bearing subunits of the enzyme's catalytic site are viewed as cysteine analogues and are vulnerable to electrophilic attack by compounds with conjugated carbonyl systems. The immobilization of GPx-1 to microtiter plate wells enabled facile removal of excess reactive inhibitory compounds after incubation with electrophilic chemicals or aqueous extracts of air samples derived from different sources. The inhibitory response of cigarette smoke and diesel exhaust particle extracts were compared with chemical standards of a group of electrophilic carbonyls and the arylating p-benzoquinone. GPx-1 activity was directly inactivated by millimolar concentrations of highly reactive electrophilic chemicals (including acrolein, glyoxal, methylglyoxal, and p-benzoquinone) and extracts of diesel and cigarette smoke. We conclude that the potential of air pollutant components to generate oxidative stress may be, in part, a result of electrophile-derived covalent modifications of enzymes involved in the cytosolic antioxidant defense.

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