Singlet oxygen-mediated damage to proteins and its consequences

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Proteins comprise approximately 68% of the dry weight of cells and tissues and are therefore potentially major targets for oxidative damage. Two major types of processes can occur during the exposure of proteins to UV or visible light. The first of these involves direct photo-oxidation arising from the absorption of UV radiation by the protein, or bound chromophore groups, thereby generating excited states (singlet or triplets) or radicals via photo-ionisation. The second major process involves indirect oxidation of the protein via the formation and subsequent reactions of singlet oxygen generated by the transfer of energy to ground state (triplet) molecular oxygen by either protein-bound, or other, chromophores. Singlet oxygen can also be generated by a range of other enzymatic and non-enzymatic reactions including processes mediated by heme proteins, lipoxygenases, and activated leukocytes, as well as radical termination reactions. This paper reviews the data available on singlet oxygen-mediated protein oxidation and concentrates primarily on the mechanisms by which this excited state species brings about changes to both the side-chains and backbone of amino acids, peptides, and proteins. Recent work on the identification of reactive peroxide intermediates formed on Tyr, His, and Trp residues is discussed. These peroxides may be important propagating species in protein oxidation as they can initiate further oxidation via both radical and non-radical reactions. Such processes can result in the transmittal of damage to other biological targets, and may play a significant role in bystander damage, or dark reactions, in systems where proteins are subjected to oxidation.

Original languageEnglish
JournalMolecular Cell Biology Research Communications
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)761-70
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 6 Jun 2003

    Research areas

  • Humans, Light, Models, Chemical, Oxidative Stress, Proteins, Singlet Oxygen

ID: 138275833