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Front Physiol. 2012 Sep 14;3:369. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2012.00369. eCollection 2012.

Oxidative modification of proteins: an emerging mechanism of cell signaling.

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Departments of Pathology, University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL, USA ; Center for Free Radical Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham Birmingham, AL, USA.


There are a wide variety of reactive species which can affect cell function, including reactive oxygen, nitrogen, and lipid species. Some are formed endogenously through enzymatic or non-enzymatic pathways, and others are introduced through diet or environmental exposure. Many of these reactive species can interact with biomolecules and can result in oxidative post-translational modification of proteins. It is well documented that some oxidative modifications cause macromolecular damage and cell death. However, a growing body of evidence suggests that certain classes of reactive species initiate cell signaling by reacting with specific side chains of peptide residues without causing cell death. This process is generally termed "redox signaling," and its role in physiological and pathological processes is a subject of active investigation. This review will give an overview of oxidative protein modification as a mechanism of redox signaling, including types of reactive species and how they modify proteins, examples of modified proteins, and a discussion about the current concepts in this area.


15-deoxy-prostaglandin J2 (15d-PGJ2); electrophile; reactive species; redox signaling; thiol

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