Sulfhydryl-specific probe for monitoring protein redox sensitivity

Jae Jin Lee, Sura Ha, Hee Jung Kim, Hyun Joo Ha, Hee Yoon Lee, Kong Joo Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Reactive oxygen species (ROS) regulate various biological processes by modifying reactive cysteine residues in the proteins participating in the relevant signaling pathways. Identification of ROS target proteins requires specific reagents that identify ROS-sensitive cysteine sulfhydryls that differ from the known alkylating agents, iodoacetamide and N-ethylmaleimide, which react nonspecifically with oxidized cysteines including sulfenic and sulfinic acid. We designed and synthesized a novel reagent, methyl-3-nitro-4-(piperidin-1-ylsulfonyl)benzoate (NPSB-1), that selectively and specifically reacts with the sulfhydryl of cysteines in model compounds. We validated the specificity of this reagent by allowing it to react with recombinant proteins followed by peptide sequencing with nanoUPLC-ESI-q-TOF tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS), and mutant studies employed it to identify cellular proteins containing redox-sensitive cysteine residues. We also obtained proteins from cells treated with various concentrations of hydrogen peroxide, labeled them with biotinylated NPSB-1 (NPSB-B), pulled them down with streptavidin beads, and identified them with MS/MS. We grouped these proteins into four families: (1) those having reactive cysteine residues easily oxidized by hydrogen peroxide, (2) those with cysteines reactive only under mild oxidative stress, (3) those with cysteines reactive only after exposure to oxidative stress, and (4) those with cysteines that are reactive regardless of oxidative stress. These results confirm that NPSBs can serve as novel chemical probes for specifically capturing reactive cysteine residues and as powerful tools for measuring their oxidative sensitivity and can help to understand the function of cysteine modifications in ROS-mediated signaling pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2883-2894
Number of pages12
JournalACS Chemical Biology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 19 Dec 2014

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© 2014 American Chemical Society.


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