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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1994 Apr;310(1):273-81.

S-thiolation of individual human neutrophil proteins including actin by stimulation of the respiratory burst: evidence against a role for glutathione disulfide.

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Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, Iowa State University, Ames 50011.


Protein S-thiolation, a reversible modification of protein sulfhydryls resulting in formation of mixed-disulfides, was studied in human neutrophils stimulated with phorbol diester to produce superoxide anion. Rapid S-thiolation of several proteins was examined by sodium dodecyl sulfate-polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis. Glutathione was identified as the primary protein-bound thio by HPLC chromatography, contributing considerably more than 85% of the total. Minor amounts of homocysteine and/or cysteine were also detected as protein-bound thiols. During the first 30 min after stimulation, 10% of the cellular glutathione became protein bound (2 nmol/mg of protein). There was no increase in glutathione disulfide suggesting that S-thiolation of the proteins did not occur by thiol/disulfide exchange. Approximately 10 mol% of one heavily modified band (29 kDa) was S-thiolated after 30 min. A second major band of 42 kDa was identified as actin. It contained 1/10th of the total protein-bound glutathione and approximately 5 mol% was S-thiolated after 30 min. These experiments identify a subset of S-thiolated neutrophil proteins, including actin, whose modification is related to the phorbol diester stimulation of superoxide anion production in human neutrophils. Ten percent of the total glutathione pool became protein-bound without an appreciable change in non-bound concentration of glutathione or glutathione disulfide. These results suggest that glutathione was synthesized during initial phases of the respiratory burst, compensating for the amount of glutathione that became protein-bound. Since there was no significant increase in glutathione disulfide, it was probably not important in the observed protein S-thiolation.

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