Identification of potential protein targets of isothiocyanates by proteomics

Lixin Mi, Brian L. Hood, Nicolas A. Stewart, Zhen Xiao, Sudha Govind, Xiantao Wang, Thomas P. Conrads, Timothy D. Veenstra, Fung Lung Chung*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Isothiocyanates (ITCs), such as phenethyl isothiocyanate (PEITC) and sulforaphane (SFN), are effective cancer chemopreventive compounds. It is believed that the major mechanism for the cancer preventive activity of ITCs is through the induction of cell cycle arrest and apoptosis. However, the upstream molecular targets of ITCs have been underexplored until recently. To identify proteins that are covalently modified by ITCs, human non-small cell lung cancer A549 cells were treated with 14C-PEITC and 14C-SFN, and the cell lysates were extracted for analysis by 2-D gel electrophoresis and mass spectrometry. After superimposing the colloidal Coomassie blue protein staining pattern with the pattern of radioactivity obtained from X-ray films, it was clear that only a small fraction of cellular proteins contained radioactivity, presumably resulting from selective binding with PEITC or SFN via thiocarbamation. More than 30 proteins with a variety of biological functions were identified with high confidence. Here, we report the identities of these potential ITC target proteins and discuss their biological relevance. The discovery of the protein targets may facilitate studies of the mechanisms by which ITCs exert their cancer preventive activity and provide the molecular basis for designing more efficacious ITC compounds.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1735-1743
Number of pages9
JournalChemical Research in Toxicology
Issue number10
StatePublished - 17 Oct 2011
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Identification of potential protein targets of isothiocyanates by proteomics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this