Transthiocarbamoylation of proteins by thiolated isothiocyanates.

Graduate School of Bioagricultural Sciences, Nagoya University, Nagoya 464-8601, Japan.
Journal of Biological Chemistry (Impact Factor: 4.6). 12/2011; 286(49):42150-61. DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M111.308049
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Isothiocyanates, membrane-permeable electrophiles that form adducts with thiols, have been suggested to have important medical benefits. Here we shed light on isothiocyanate-thiol conjugates and studied their electrophilic potential transferring an isothiocyanate moiety to cellular proteins. When we examined the effect of sulfhydryl molecules on cellular response induced by 6-methylsulfinylhexyl isothiocyanate (6-HITC), an analog of sulforaphane isolated from broccoli, we observed significant induction of heme oxygenase-1 by 6-HITC even in the presence of N-acetyl-L-cysteine or glutathione (GSH). In addition, the authentic 6-HITC-β-mercaptoethanol (6-HITC-ME) conjugate markedly up-regulated the enzyme expression, suggesting the electrophilic potential of thiolated isothiocyanates. To gain a chemical insight into the cellular response induced by thiolated isothiocyanates, we studied the occurrence of transthiocarbamoylation of sulfhydryl molecules by 6-HITC-ME and observed that, upon incubation of 6-HITC-ME with GSH, a single product corresponding to the GSH conjugate of 6-HITC was generated. To test the functional ability of thiolated isothiocyanates to thiocarbamoylate proteins in living cells, we designed a novel probe, combining an isothiocyanate-reactive group and an alkyne functionality, and revealed that the transthiocarbamoylation of proteins occurred in the cells upon exposure to 6-HITC-ME. The target of thiocarbamoylation included heat shock protein 90 β (Hsp90β), a chaperone ATPase of the Hsp90 family implicated in protein maturation and targeting. To identify the sites of the Hsp90β modification, we utilized nano-LC/MALDI-TOF MS/MS and suggested that a thiol group on the peptide containing Cys-521 reacted with 6-HITC, resulting in a covalent adduct in a 6-HITC-treated recombinant Hsp90β in vitro. The site-selective binding to Cys-521 was supported by in silico modeling. Further study on the thiocarbamoylation of Hsp90β suggested that the formation of 6-HITC-Hsp90β conjugate might cause activation of heat shock factor-1, rapidly signaling a potential heat shock response. These data suggest that thiolated isothiocyanates are an active metabolite that could contribute to cellular responses through transthiocarbamoylation of cellular proteins.

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