Photodynamically generated bovine serum albumin radicals: evidence for damage transfer and oxidation at cysteine and tryptophan residues

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Porphyrin-sensitized photoxidation of bovine serum albumin (BSA) results in oxidation of the protein at (at least) two different, specific sites: the Cys-34 residue giving rise to a thiyl radical (RS.); and one or both of the tryptophan residues (Trp-134 and Trp-214) resulting in the formation of tertiary carbon-centred radicals and disruption of the tryptophan ring system. In the case of porphyrins such as hematoporphyrin, which bind at specific sites on BSA, these species appear to arise via long-range transfer of damage within the protein structure, as the binding site is some distance from the ultimate site of radical formation. This transfer of damage is shown to depend on a number of factors including the conformation of the protein, the presence of blocking groups and pH. Alteration of the protein conformation results in radical formation at additional (or alternative) sites, as does blocking of the preferred loci of radical formation. The formation of these thiyl and tryptophan-derived radicals does not lead to significant aggregation or fragmentation of the protein, though it does result in a dramatic enhancement in the susceptibility of the oxidised protein to proteolytic degradation by a range of proteases. The generation of protein-derived radicals also results in an enhancement of photobleaching of the porphyrin, suggesting that protein radical generation is linked to porphyrin photooxidation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalFree Radical Biology & Medicine
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)754-66
Number of pages13
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 1998

    Research areas

  • Bicyclo Compounds, Heterocyclic, Cysteine, Free Radicals, Hematoporphyrins, Hydrogen-Ion Concentration, Oxidation-Reduction, Phosphites, Photic Stimulation, Photosensitizing Agents, Serum Albumin, Bovine, Spectrometry, Fluorescence, Spin Trapping, Tryptophan

ID: 138284763