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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Radiolytic modification of basic amino acid residues in peptides: probes for examining protein-protein interactions.

Protein footprinting utilizing hydroxyl radicals coupled with mass spectrometry has become a powerful technique for mapping the solvent accessible surface of proteins and examining protein-protein interactions in solution. Hydroxyl radicals generated by radiolysis or chemical methods efficiently react with many amino acid residue side chains, including the aromatic and sulfur-containing residues along with proline and leucine, generating stable oxidation products that are valuable probes for examining protein structure. In this study, we examine the radiolytic oxidation chemistry of histidine, lysine, and arginine for comparison with their metal-catalyzed oxidation products. Model peptides containing arginine, histidine, and lysine were irradiated using white light from a synchrotron X-ray source or a cesium-137 gamma-ray source. The rates of oxidation and the radiolysis products were primarily characterized by electrospray mass spectrometry including tandem mass spectrometry. Arginine is very sensitive to radiolytic oxidation, giving rise to a characteristic product with a 43 Da mass reduction as a result of the loss of guanidino group and conversion to gamma-glutamyl semialdehyde, consistent with previous metal-catalyzed oxidation studies. Histidine was oxidized to generate a mixture of products with characteristic mass changes primarily involving rupture of and addition to the imidazole ring. Lysine was converted to hydroxylysine or carbonylysine by radiolysis. The development of methods to probe these residues due to their high frequency of occurrence, their typical presence on the protein surface, and their frequent participation in protein-protein interactions considerably extends the utility of protein footprinting.[1]


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