Identification of oxidized mitochondrial proteins in alcohol-exposed human hepatoma cells and mouse liver

Soo Kyung Suh, Brian L. Hood, Bong Jo Kim, Thomas P. Conrads, Timothy D. Veenstra, Byoung J. Song*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


Heavy alcohol consumption can damage various cells and organs partly through production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and mitochondrial dysfunction. Treatment with antioxidants can significantly reduce the degree of damage. Despite well established roles of ROS in alcohol-induced cell injury, the proteins that are selectively oxidized by ROS are poorly characterized. We hypothesized that certain cysteinyl residues of target proteins are oxidized by ROS upon alcohol exposure, and these modified proteins may play roles in mitochondrial dysfunction. A targeted proteomics approach utilizing biotin-N-maleimide (biotin-NM) as a specific probe to label oxidized cysteinyl residues was employed to investigate which mitochondrial proteins are modified during and after alcohol exposure. Human hepatoma HepG2 cells with transduced CYP2E1 (E47 cells) were used as a model to generate ROS through CYP2E1-mediated ethanol metabolism. Following exposure to 100 mM ethanol for 4 and 8 h, the biotin-NM-labeled oxidized proteins were purified with agarose coupled to either streptavidin or monoclonal antibody against biotin. The purified proteins were resolved by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis and protein spots that displayed differential abundances were excised from the gel, in-gel digested with trypsin and analyzed for identity utilizing either matrix-assisted laser desorption-time of flight mass spectrometry or microcapillary reversed-phase liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. The results demonstrate that heat shock protein 60, protein disulfide isomerase, mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenases, prohibitin, and other proteins were oxidized after alcohol exposure. The identity of some of the proteins purified with streptavidin-agarose was also confirmed by immunoblot analyses using the specific antibody to each target protein. This method was also used to identify oxidized mitochondrial proteins in the alcohol-fed mouse liver. These results suggest that exposure to ethanol causes oxidation of various mitochondrial proteins that may negatively affect their function and contribute to alcohol-induced mitochondrial dysfunction and cellular injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3401-3412
Number of pages12
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Alcohol
  • CYP2E1
  • Cysteine oxidation
  • Reactive oxygen species


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