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PLoS One. 2018 Mar 29;13(3):e0194164. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0194164. eCollection 2018.

Specific protein carbonylation in human breast cancer tissue compared to adjacent healthy epithelial tissue.

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Laboratory of Applied Biochemistry, Division of Biotechnology Review and Research III, Office of Biotechnology Products, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Silver Spring, Maryland, United States of America.


Protein carbonylation is an irreversible post-translational modification induced by severe oxidative stress. Reactive oxygen species (ROS) are constantly produced in cells and play important roles in both cancer progression and cancer suppression. ROS levels can be higher in tumor compared to surrounding healthy tissue but ROS-induced specific protein carbonylation and its unique role in cancer progression or suppression is poorly understood. In this study, we utilized previously validated ELISA and western blot methods to analyze the total and specific protein carbonylation in flash-frozen human breast cancer and matched adjacent healthy tissue to compare relative total, and specific protein carbonylation. Mass spectrometry, two-color western, and immunoprecipitation methods were used to identify and confirm the specifically carbonylated proteins in breast tumor tissue. Superoxide dismutase (SOD) activity was measured as an indicator of antioxidant activity, and LC3-II protein level was analyzed for autophagy by western blot. Findings were further confirmed using the immortalized MDA-MB-231 and MDA-MB-468 breast cancer and MCF-12A noncancerous human epithelial breast cell lines. Our results indicate that tumor tissue has greater total protein carbonylation, lower SOD1 and SOD2 protein levels, lower total SOD activity, and higher LC3-II levels compared to adjacent healthy tissue. We identified and confirmed three specific proteins of interest; filamin A, heat shock protein 90β (HSP90β), and bifunctional glutamate/proline-tRNA ligase (EPRS), that were selectively carbonylated in tumor tissue compared to matched adjacent healthy tissue. Correspondingly, compared to noncancerous MCF-12A epithelial cells, MDA-MB-231 cancer cells exhibited an increase in filamin A and EPRS protein carbonylation, decreased total SOD activity, and increased autophagy, but not increased HSP90β protein carbonylation. Identification of selectively carbonylated proteins and defining their roles in cancer progression may promote the development of targeted therapeutic approaches toward mitigating oxidative damage of these proteins.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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