Mapping the modification of histones by the myeloperoxidase-derived oxidant hypochlorous acid (HOCl)

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Histones are critical for the packaging of nuclear DNA and chromatin assembly, which is facilitated by the high abundance of Lys and Arg residues within these proteins. These residues are also the site of a range of post-translational modifications, which influence the regulatory function of histones. Histones are also present in the extracellular environment, following release by various pathways, particularly neutrophil extracellular traps (NETs). NETs contain myeloperoxidase, which retains its enzymatic activity and produces hypochlorous acid (HOCl). This suggests that histones could be targets for HOCl under conditions where aberrant NET release is prevalent, such as chronic inflammation. In this study, we examine the reactivity of HOCl with a mixture of linker (H1) and core (H2A, H2B, H3 and H4) histones. HOCl modified the histones in a dose- and time-dependent manner, resulting in structural changes to the proteins and the formation of a range of post-translational modification products. N-Chloramines are major products following exposure of the histones to HOCl and decompose over 24 h forming Lys nitriles and carbonyls (aminoadipic semialdehydes). Chlorination and dichlorination of Tyr, but not Trp residues, is also observed. Met sulfoxide and Met sulfones are formed, though these oxidation products are also detected albeit at a lower extent, in the non-treated histones. Evidence for histone fragmentation and aggregation was also obtained. These results could have implications for the development of chronic inflammatory diseases, given the key role of Lys residues in regulating histone function.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFree Radical Biology and Medicine
Pages (from-to)152-164
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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© 2022 The Authors

    Research areas

  • 3-Chlorotyrosine, Hypochlorous acid, Inflammation, Myeloperoxidase, Protein oxidation

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