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Arch Biochem Biophys. 1997 Aug 15;344(2):253-9.

Peroxynitrite-mediated nitration of peptides: characterization of the products by electrospray and combined gas chromatography-mass spectrometry.

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Biomedical Mass Spectrometry Unit, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia.


Peroxynitrite (ONOO-) can react with a wide range of biomolecules resulting in peroxidation, oxidation, and/or nitration and as a consequence cause their inactivation. In this study mass spectrometry (MS) combined with both liquid (LC) and gas chromatography (GC) has been employed to identify the products formed following ONOO- treatment of three peptides at physiological pH: leucine-enkephalin (YGGFL), V3 loop (GPGRAF), and LVV-hemorphin7 (LVVYPWTQRF). LC-MS analysis of leucine-enkephalin following ONOO treatment indicated the formation of products corresponding in mass to mono- and dinitrated forms of the starting material. LC-MS-MS and GC-MS analyses revealed no evidence for the formation of nitrophenylalanine; however, both 3-nitrotyrosine and 3,5-dinitrotyrosine were observed and characterized. GC-MS analysis of hydrolyzed peptides following ONOO- treatment confirmed the presence of nitrated and dinitrated tyrosine. However, when a 20-fold molar excess of ONOO- was reacted with leucine-enkephalin, only about half of the tyrosine originally present in the peptide could be accounted for in the acid hydrolysate. The main product was 3-nitrotyrosine which represented ca. 50% of the original tyrosine; traces of 3,5-dinitrotyrosine (ca. 3% of the original tyrosine) were also present.

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