Analysis of naphthalene adduct binding sites in model proteins by tandem mass spectrometry

Nathalie T. Pham, William T. Jewell, Dexter Morin, Alan R Buckpitt

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11 Scopus citations


The electrophilic metabolites of the polyaromatic hydrocarbon naphthalene have been shown to bind covalently to proteins and covalent adduct formation correlates with the cytotoxic effects of the chemical in the respiratory system. Although 1,2-naphthalene epoxide, naphthalene diol epoxide, 1,2-naphthoquinone, and 1,4-napthoquinone have been identified as reactive metabolites of interest, the role of each metabolite in total covalent protein adduction and subsequent cytotoxicity remains to be established. To better understand the target residues associated with the reaction of these metabolites with proteins, mass spectrometry was used to identify adducted residues following (1) incubation of metabolites with actin and protein disulfide isomerase (PDI), and (2) activation of naphthalene in microsomal incubations containing supplemental actin or PDI. All four reactive metabolites bound to Cys, Lys or His residues in actin and PDI. Cys 17 of actin was the only residue adducted by all metabolites; there was substantial metabolite selectivity for the majority of adducted residues. Modifications of actin and PDI, following microsomal incubations containing 14C-naphthalene, were detected readily by 2D gel electrophoresis and phosphor imaging. However, target modifications on tryptic peptides from these isolated proteins could not be readily detected by MALDI/TOF/TOF and only three modified peptides were detected using high resolution-selective ion monitoring (HR-SIM). All the reactive metabolites investigated have the potential to modify several residues in a single protein, but even in tissues with very high rates of naphthalene activation, the extent of modification was too low to allow unambiguous identification of a significant number of modified residues in the isolated proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)120-128
Number of pages9
JournalChemico-Biological Interactions
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 30 2012


  • Adducts
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Microsomal incubations
  • Model proteins
  • Naphthalene
  • Reactive metabolites

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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