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Amino Acids. 2018 May;50(5):537-546. doi: 10.1007/s00726-018-2545-3. Epub 2018 Feb 26.

Demethylation of methionine and keratin damage in human hair.

Author information

1
Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School, International Center for Public Health, 225 Warren Street, Newark, NJ, 07103, USA.
2
Department of Environmental Chemistry, University of Łódź, 90-236, Łódź, Poland.
3
Department of Human Nutrition and Hygiene, Poznań University of Life Sciences, 60-632, Poznań, Poland.
4
Department of Microbiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics, Rutgers-New Jersey Medical School, International Center for Public Health, 225 Warren Street, Newark, NJ, 07103, USA. jakubows@rutgers.edu.
5
Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, Poznań University of Life Sciences, 60-632, Poznań, Poland. jakubows@rutgers.edu.

Abstract

Growing human head hair contains a history of keratin and provides a unique model for studies of protein damage. Here, we examined mechanism of homocysteine (Hcy) accumulation and keratin damage in human hair. We found that the content of Hcy-keratin increased along the hair fiber, with levels 5-10-fold higher levels in older sections at the hair's tip than in younger sections at hair's base. The accumulation of Hcy led to a complete loss of keratin solubility in sodium dodecyl sulfate. The increase in Hcy-keratin was accompanied by a decrease in methionine-keratin. Levels of Hcy-keratin were correlated with hair copper and iron in older hair. These relationships were recapitulated in model experiments in vitro, in which Hcy generation from Met exhibited a similar dependence on copper or iron. Taken together, these findings suggest that Hcy-keratin accumulation is due to copper/iron-catalyzed demethylation of methionine residues and contributes to keratin damage in human hair.

KEYWORDS:

Copper; Hair keratin damage; Homocysteine; Iron; Methionine demethylation

PMID:
29480334
PMCID:
PMC5917003
DOI:
10.1007/s00726-018-2545-3
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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