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Chem Res Toxicol. 2007 Mar;20(3):511-9. Epub 2007 Feb 17.

A proteomic analysis of bromobenzene reactive metabolite targets in rat liver cytosol in vivo.

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Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 66045-7582, USA.


Metabolic activation and protein covalent binding are early and apparently obligatory events in the cytotoxicity of many simple organic chemicals including drugs and natural products. Although much has been learned about the chemistry of reactive metabolite formation and reactivity toward protein nucleophiles, progress in identifying specific protein targets for reactive metabolites of various protoxins has been much slower. We previously reported nine microsomal and three cytosolic proteins as targets for reactive metabolites of bromobenzene in rat liver. These results, and contemporary work by others, indicate that protein covalent binding is not totally random in cells. Moreover, as protein targets for other protoxins were identified, little commonality of target proteins became apparent. In the present work, we used two-dimensional gel electrophoresis to separate liver cytosolic proteins from rats treated with 14C-bromobenzene; 110 of the 836 observed spots contained measurable radioactivity that varied over a 600-fold range of adduct density. Of these 110 spots, in-gel digestion coupled with mass spectrometry identified apparently single proteins in 57 spots. A few other spots clearly contained more than one identifiable protein, and in several cases, the same protein was identified in several spots having different apparent molecular masses and/or pI. Altogether, 33 unique new protein targets for bromobenzene metabolites were identified and compared to those known for acetaminophen, naphthalene, butylated hydroxytoluene, benzene, thiobenzamide, and halothane via a target protein database available at With increasing numbers of target proteins becoming known, more commonality in targeting by reactive metabolites from diverse chemical agents may be seen. Such commonality may help to separate toxicologically significant covalent binding events from a background of covalent binding that is toxicologically inconsequential.

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