Donald S Backos

University of Colorado, Denver, Colorado, United States

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Publications (17)79.54 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Pathogenesis in alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is complicated and multifactorial but clearly involves oxidative stress and inflammation. Currently, conflicting reports exist regarding the role of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in the etiology of ALD. The glucose regulated protein 78 (GRP78) is the ER homologue of HSP70 and plays a critical role in the cellular response to ER stress by serving as a chaperone assisting protein folding and by regulating the signaling of the unfolded protein response (UPR). Comprised of three functional domains, an ATPase, peptide-binding, and lid domain, GRP78 folds nascent polypeptides via the substrate-binding domain. Earlier work has indicated that the ATPase function of GRP78 is intrinsically linked and essential to its chaperone activity. Previous work in our laboratory has indicated that Grp78 and the UPR are not induced in a mouse model of ALD but that Grp78 is adducted by the lipid electrophiles 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) and 4-oxononenal (4-ONE) in vivo. As impairment of Grp78 has the potential to contribute to pathogenesis in ALD, we investigated the functional consequences of aldehyde adduction upon Grp78 function. Identification of 4-HNE and 4-ONE target residues in purified human GRP78 revealed a marked propensity for Lys and His adduction within the ATPase domain and a relative paucity of adduct formation within the peptide-binding domain. Consistent with these findings, we observed a concomitant dose-dependent decrease in ATP-binding and ATPase activity without any discernible impairment of chaperone function. Collectively, our data indicate that ATPase activity is not essential for Grp78 mediated chaperone activity and is consistent with the hypothesis that ER stress does not play a primary initiating role in the early stages of ALD.
    Free radical biology & medicine. 06/2014;
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    ABSTRACT: Eya proteins are essential co-activators of the Six family of transcription factors and contain a unique tyrosine phosphatase domain belonging to the haloacid dehalogenase family of phosphatases. The phosphatase activity of Eya is important for the transcription of a subset of Six1-target genes, and also directs cells to the repair rather than apoptosis pathway upon DNA damage. Furthermore, the Eya phosphatase activity has been shown to mediate transformation, invasion, migration, and metastasis of breast cancer cells, making it a potential new drug target for breast cancer. We have previously identified a class of N-arylidenebenzohydrazide compounds that specifically inhibit the Eya2 phosphatase. Herein, we demonstrate that these compounds are reversible inhibitors that selectively inhibit the phosphatase activity of Eya2, but not Eya3. Our mutagenesis results suggest that this class of compounds does not bind to the active site and the binding does not require the coordination with Mg2+. Moreover, these compounds likely bind within a site on the opposite face of the active site, and function as allosteric inhibitors. We also demonstrate that this class of compounds inhibits Eya2 phosphatase mediated cell migration, setting the foundation for these molecules to be developed into chemical probes for understanding the specific function of the Eya2 phosphatase, and to serve as a prototype for the development of Eya2 phosphatase specific anti-cancer drugs.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2014; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The production of reactive aldehydes including 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE) is a key component of the pathogenesis in a spectrum of chronic inflammatory hepatic diseases including alcoholic liver disease (ALD). One consequence of ALD is increased oxidative stress and altered β-oxidation in hepatocytes. A major regulator of β-oxidation is 5' AMP protein kinase (AMPK). In an in vitro cellular model, we identified AMPK as a direct target of 4-HNE adduction resulting in inhibition of H2O2 and AICAR-induced downstream signaling. By employing biotin hydrazide capture, it was confirmed that 4-HNE treatment of cells resulted in carbonylation of AMPKαβ which was not observed in untreated cells. Using a murine model of alcoholic liver disease, treatment with high concentrations of ethanol resulted in an increase in phosphorylated as well as carbonylated AMPKα. Despite increased AMPK phosphorylation, there was no significant change in phosphorylation of ACC. Mass spectrometry identified Michael addition adducts of 4-HNE on Cys(130), Cys(174), Cys(227), and Cys(304) on rAMPKα and Cys(225) on rAMPKβ. Molecular modeling analysis of 4-HNE adducted to Cys(130), Cys(174) , Cys (227) , or Cys (304) on AMPKα suggest that inhibition of AMPK occurs by steric hindrance of the active site pocket and by inhibition of hydrogen peroxide induced oxidation. The inhibition of AMPK by 4-HNE provides a novel mechanism for altered β-oxidation in ALD and these data demonstrate for the first time that AMPK is subject to regulation by reactive aldehydes in vivo.
    Journal of Biological Chemistry 04/2014; · 4.65 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: We report the identification and characterization of a five-carbon protein posttranslational modification (PTM) called lysine glutarylation (Kglu). This protein modification was detected by immunoblot and mass spectrometry (MS), and then comprehensively validated by chemical and biochemical methods. We demonstrated that the previously annotated deacetylase, sirtuin 5 (SIRT5), is a lysine deglutarylase. Proteome-wide analysis identified 683 Kglu sites in 191 proteins and showed that Kglu is highly enriched on metabolic enzymes and mitochondrial proteins. We validated carbamoyl phosphate synthase 1 (CPS1), the rate-limiting enzyme in urea cycle, as a glutarylated protein and demonstrated that CPS1 is targeted by SIRT5 for deglutarylation. We further showed that glutarylation suppresses CPS1 enzymatic activity in cell lines, mice, and a model of glutaric acidemia type I disease, the last of which has elevated glutaric acid and glutaryl-CoA. This study expands the landscape of lysine acyl modifications and increases our understanding of the deacylase SIRT5.
    Cell metabolism 04/2014; 19(4):605-17. · 17.35 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The production of reactive aldehydes such as 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) is a key event in the pathogenesis of alcoholic liver disease which ranges from simple steatosis to fibrosis. The lipid phosphatase PTEN plays a central role in the regulation of lipid metabolism in the liver. In the present study, the effects of chronic ethanol feeding and carbonylation on the PTEN signaling pathway were examined in a 9-week mouse feeding model for ALD. Chronic ethanol consumption resulted in altered REDOX homeostasis as evidenced by decreased GSH, decreased Trx1 and increased GST activity. Both PTEN expression and phosphorylation was significantly increased in the livers of ethanol-fed mice. Carbonylation of PTEN increased significantly in the ethanol-fed mice compared to pair-fed control animals corresponding to decreased PTEN 3-phosphatase activity. Concomitantly, increased expression of Akt2 along with increased Akt phosphorylation at residues Thr(308), Thr(450) and Ser(473) was observed resulting in increased Akt2 activity in the ethanol-fed animals. Akt2 activation corresponded to a decrease in cytosolic SREBP and ChREBP. Subsequent LC-MS/MS analysis of 4-HNE modified recombinant human PTEN identified Michael addition adducts of 4-HNE on Cys(71), Cys(136), Lys(147), Lys(223), Cys(250), Lys(254), Lys(313), Lys(327) and Lys(344). Computational based molecular modeling analysis of 4-HNE adducted to Cys(71) near the active site and Lys(327) in the C2 domain of PTEN suggest inhibition of enzyme catalysis via either stearic hindrance of the active site pocket or by prevention of C2 domain-dependent PTEN function. We hypothesize that 4-HNE-mediated PTEN inhibition contributes to the observed activation of Akt2 suggesting a possible novel mechanism of lipid accumulation in response to increased reactive aldehyde production during chronic ethanol administration in mice.
    Free Radical Biology and Medicine 07/2013; · 5.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The antioxidant glutathione (GSH) plays a critical role in maintaining intracellular redox homeostasis but in tumors the GSH biosynthetic pathway is often dysregulated, contributing to tumor resistance to radiation and chemotherapy. Glutamate-cysteine ligase (GCL) catalyzes the first and rate-limiting reaction in GSH synthesis, and enzyme function is controlled by GSH feedback inhibition or by transcriptional upregulation of the catalytic (GCLC) and modifier (GCLM) subunits. However, it has recently been reported that the activity of GCLC and the formation of GCL can be modified by reactive aldehyde products derived from lipid peroxidation. Due to the susceptibility of GCLC to posttranslational modifications by reactive aldehydes, we examined the potential for 2-deoxy-D-ribose (2dDR) to glycate GCLC and regulate enzyme activity and GCL formation. 2dDR was found to directly modify both GCLC and GCLM in vitro, resulting in a significant inhibition of GCLC and GCL enzyme activity without altering substrate affinity or feedback inhibition. 2dDR-mediated glycation also inhibited GCL subunit heterodimerization and formation of the GCL holoenzyme complex while not causing dissociation of pre-formed holoenzyme. This PTM could be of particular importance in glioblastoma (GBM) where intratumoral necrosis provides an abundance of thymidine, which can be metabolized by thymidine phosphorylase (TP) to form 2dDR. TP is expressed at high levels in human GBM tumors and shRNA knockdown of TP in U87 GBM cells results in a significant increase in cellular GCL enzymatic activity.
    Neurochemical Research 06/2013; · 2.13 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Base amino acid lysine residues play an important role in regulation of nuclear receptors (e.g. FXR) leading to enhanced or suppressed biological activity. To understand the molecular mechanisms and the subsequent effects in modulating FXR functions in diverse biological processes, we individually replaced eight highly conserved lysine residues of hFXR with arginine. The effects of each mutated FXR on target gene activation, subcellular localization, protein-protein association, and protein-DNA interaction were investigated. Results demonstrated that K122R, K210R, K339R, and K460R mutants of hFXR, significantly impaired target gene (OSTalpha/beta and BSEP) promoter reporter activity in a ligand-dependent fashion. All of the four mutants did not affect the nuclear localization of FXR. Protein interaction studies show that K210R slightly but significantly decreased FXR/RXR binding affinity, but enhanced the interaction of FXR with lysine methyltransferase Set7/9 by ~21%. K460R decreased the FXR interaction with Set7/9 by ~45%, but has no significant effects on interaction with RXR. Electrophoretic mobility shift assays demonstrated that hFXR-K210R and -K339R reduced the protein-DNA (IR1 element at hBSEP promoter) binding affinity by ~80% and ~90%, respectively. Computational-based protein modeling studies were consistent with these results and provided further insights into the potential underlying mechanisms responsible for these results. In conclusion, four highly conserved lysine residues, K122, K210, K339, and K460 of hFXR have been identified that play a critical role in FXR target gene regulation and molecular interaction (protein-protein and protein-DNA).
    Molecular pharmacology 03/2013; · 4.53 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Gout, a common form of inflammatory arthritis, is strongly associated with elevated uric acid concentrations in the blood (hyperuricemia). A recent study in Icelanders identified a rare missense single nucleotide polymporphism (SNP) in the ALDH16A1 gene, ALDH16A1∗2, to be associated with gout and serum uric acid levels. ALDH16A1 is a novel and rather unique member of the ALDH superfamily in relation to its gene and protein structures. ALDH16 genes are present in fish, amphibians, protista, bacteria but absent from archaea, fungi and plants. In most mammalian species, two ALDH16A1 spliced variants (ALDH16A1, long form and ALDH16A1_v2, short form) have been identified and both are expressed in HepG-2, HK-2 and HK-293 human cell lines. The ALDH16 proteins contain two ALDH domains (as opposed to one in the other members of the superfamily), four transmembrane and one coiled-coil domains. The active site of ALDH16 proteins from bacterial, frog and lower animals contain the catalytically important cysteine residue (Cys-302); this residue is absent from the mammalian and fish orthologs. Molecular modeling predicts that both the short and long forms of human ALDH16A1 protein would lack catalytic activity but may interact with the hypoxanthine-guanine phosphoribosyltransferase (HPRT1) protein, a key enzyme involved in uric acid metabolism and gout. Interestingly, such protein-protein interactions with HPRT1 are predicted to be impaired for the long or short forms of ALDH16A1∗2. These results lead to the intriguing possibility that association between ALDH16A1 and HPRT1 may be required for optimal HPRT activity with disruption of this interaction possibly contributing to the hyperuricemia seen in ALDH16A1∗2 carriers.
    Chemico-biological interactions 01/2013; · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Vertebrate ALDH2 genes encode mitochondrial enzymes capable of metabolizing acetaldehyde and other biological aldehydes in the body. Mammalian ALDH1B1, another mitochondrial enzyme sharing 72% identity with ALDH2, is also capable of metabolizing acetaldehyde but has a tissue distribution and pattern of activity distinct from that of ALDH2. Bioinformatic analyses of several vertebrate genomes were undertaken using known ALDH2 and ALDH1B1 amino acid sequences. Phylogenetic analysis of many representative vertebrate species (including fish, amphibians, birds and mammals) indicated the presence of ALDH1B1 in many mammalian species and in frogs (Xenopus tropicalis); no evidence was found for ALDH1B1 in the genomes of birds, reptiles or fish. Predicted vertebrate ALDH2 and ALDH1B1 subunit sequences and structures were highly conserved, including residues previously shown to be involved in catalysis and coenzyme binding for human ALDH2. Studies of ALDH1B1 sequences supported the hypothesis that the ALDH1B1 gene originated in early vertebrates from a retrotransposition of the vertebrate ALDH2 gene. Given the high degree of similarity between ALDH2 and ALDH1B1, it is surprising that individuals with an inactivating mutation in ALDH2 (ALDH2∗2) do not exhibit a compensatory increase in ALDH1B1 activity. We hypothesized that the similarity between the two ALDHs would allow for dominant negative heterotetramerization between the inactive ALDH2 mutants and ALDH1B1. Computational-based molecular modeling studies examining predicted protein-protein interactions indicated that heterotetramerization between ALDH2 and ALDH1B1 subunits was highly probable and may partially explain a lack of compensation by ALDH1B1 in ALDH2∗2 individuals.
    Chemico-biological interactions 12/2012; · 2.46 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Mitochondrial oxidative stress and damage have been implicated in the etiology of temporal lobe epilepsy, but whether or not they have a functional impact on mitochondrial processes during epilepsy development (epileptogenesis) is unknown. One consequence of increased steady-state mitochondrial reactive oxygen species levels is protein post-translational modification (PTM). We hypothesize that complex I (CI), a protein complex of the mitochondrial electron transport chain, is a target for oxidant-induced PTMs, such as carbonylation, leading to impaired function during epileptogenesis. The goal of this study was to determine whether oxidative modifications occur and what impact they have on CI enzymatic activity in the rat hippocampus in response to kainate (KA)-induced epileptogenesis. Rats were injected with a single high dose of KA or vehicle and evidence for CI modifications was measured during the acute, latent, and chronic stages of epilepsy. Mitochondrial-specific carbonylation was increased acutely (48 h) and chronically (6 week), coincident with decreased CI activity. Mass spectrometry analysis of immunocaptured CI identified specific metal catalyzed carbonylation to Arg76 within the 75 kDa subunit concomitant with inhibition of CI activity during epileptogenesis. Computational-based molecular modeling studies revealed that Arg76 is in close proximity to the active site of CI and carbonylation of the residue is predicted to induce substantial structural alterations to the protein complex. These data provide evidence for the occurrence of a specific and irreversible oxidative modification of an important mitochondrial enzyme complex critical for cellular bioenergetics during the process of epileptogenesis.
    Journal of Neuroscience 08/2012; 32(33):11250-8. · 6.91 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Alcoholic liver disease (ALD) is a primary cause of morbidity and mortality in the United States and constitutes a significant socioeconomic burden. Previous work has implicated oxidative stress and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress in the etiology of ALD; however, the complex and interrelated nature of these cellular responses presently confounds our understanding of ethanol-induced hepatopathy. In this paper, we assessed the pathological contribution of oxidative stress and ER stress in a time-course mouse model of early-stage ALD. Ethanol-treated mice exhibited significant hepatic panlobular steatosis and elevated plasma ALT values compared to isocaloric controls. Oxidative stress was observed in the ethanol-treated animals through a significant increase in hepatic TBARS and immunohistochemical staining of 4-HNE-modified proteins. Hepatic glutathione (GSH) levels were significantly decreased as a consequence of decreased CBS activity, increased GSH utilization, and increased protein glutathionylation. At the same time, immunoblot analysis of the PERK, IRE1α, ATF6, and SREBP pathways reveals no significant role for these UPR pathways in the etiology of hepatic steatosis associated with early-stage ALD. Collectively, our results indicate a primary pathogenic role for oxidative stress in the early initiating stages of ALD that precedes the involvement of the ER stress response.
    Journal of Toxicology 01/2012; 2012:207594.
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    ABSTRACT: Chemotherapy is central to the current treatment modality for primary human brain tumors, but despite high-dose and intensive treatment regimens there has been little improvement in patient outcome. The development of tumor chemoresistance has been proposed as a major contributor to this lack of response. While there have been some improvements in our understanding of the molecular mechanisms underlying brain tumor drug resistance over the past decade, the contribution of glutathione (GSH) and the GSH-related enzymes to drug resistance in brain tumors have been largely overlooked. GSH constitutes a major antioxidant defense system in the brain and together with the GSH-related enzymes plays an important role in protecting cells against free radical damage and dictating tumor cell response to adjuvant cancer therapies, including irradiation and chemotherapy. Glutamate cysteine ligase (GCL), glutathione synthetase (GS), glutathione peroxidase (GPx), glutathione reductase (GR), glutathione-S-transferases (GST), and GSH complex export transporters (GS-X pumps) are major components of the GSH-dependent enzyme system that function in a dynamic cascade to maintain redox homeostasis. In many tumors, the GSH system is often dysregulated, resulting in a more drug resistant phenotype. This is commonly associated with GST-mediated GSH conjugation of various anticancer agents leading to the formation of less toxic GSH-drug complexes, which can be readily exported from the cell. Advances in our understanding of the mechanisms of drug resistance and patient selection based on biomarker profiles will be crucial to adapt therapeutic strategies and improve outcomes for patients with primary malignant brain tumors.
    Biochemical pharmacology 11/2011; 83(8):1005-12. · 4.25 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Hydroxychalcones are naturally occurring compounds that continue to attract considerable interest because of their anti-inflammatory and antiangiogenic properties. They have been reported to inhibit the synthesis of the inducible nitric oxide synthase and to induce the expression of heme oxygenase-1. This study examines the mechanisms by which 2',5'-dihydroxychalcone (2',5'-DHC) induces an increase in cellular glutathione (GSH) levels using a cell line stably expressing a luciferase reporter gene driven by antioxidant-response elements (MCF-7/AREc32). The 2',5'-DHC-induced increase in cellular GSH levels was partially inhibited by the catalytic antioxidant MnTDE-1,3-IP(5+), suggesting that reactive oxygen species (ROS) mediate the antioxidant adaptive response. 2',5'-DHC treatment induced phosphorylation of the c-Jun N-terminal kinase (JNK) pathway, which was also inhibited by MnTDE-1,3-IP(5+). These findings suggest a ROS-dependent activation of the AP-1 transcriptional response. However, whereas 2',5'-DHC triggered the NF-E2-related factor 2 (Nrf2) transcriptional response, cotreatment with MnTDE-1,3-IP(5+) did not decrease 2',5'-DHC-induced Nrf2/ARE activity, showing that this pathway is not dependent on ROS. Moreover, pharmacological inhibitors of mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) pathways showed a role for JNK and p38MAPK in mediating the 2',5'-DHC-induced Nrf2 response. These findings suggest that the 2',5'-DHC-induced increase in GSH levels results from a combination of ROS-dependent and ROS-independent pathways.
    Free Radical Biology and Medicine 06/2011; 51(6):1146-54. · 5.27 Impact Factor
  • Free Radical Biology and Medicine - FREE RADICAL BIOL MED. 01/2011; 51.
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    ABSTRACT: 4-Hydroxy-2-nonenal (4-HNE) is a lipid peroxidation product formed during oxidative stress that can alter protein function via adduction of nucleophilic amino acid residues. 4-HNE detoxification occurs mainly via glutathione (GSH) conjugation and transporter-mediated efflux. This results in a net loss of cellular GSH, and restoration of GSH homeostasis requires de novo GSH biosynthesis. The rate-limiting step in GSH biosynthesis is catalyzed by glutamate-cysteine ligase (GCL), a heterodimeric holoenzyme composed of a catalytic (GCLC) and a modulatory (GCLM) subunit. The relative levels of the GCL subunits are a major determinant of cellular GSH biosynthetic capacity and 4-HNE induces the expression of both GCL subunits. In this study, we demonstrate that 4-HNE can alter GCL holoenzyme formation and activity via direct posttranslational modification of the GCL subunits in vitro. 4-HNE directly modified Cys553 of GCLC and Cys35 of GCLM in vitro, which significantly increased monomeric GCLC enzymatic activity, but reduced GCL holoenzyme activity and formation of the GCL holoenzyme complex. In silico molecular modeling studies also indicate these residues are likely to be functionally relevant. Within a cellular context, this novel posttranslational regulation of GCL activity could significantly affect cellular GSH homeostasis and GSH-dependent detoxification during periods of oxidative stress.
    Free Radical Biology and Medicine 10/2010; 50(1):14-26. · 5.27 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The glutathione (GSH) antioxidant defense system plays a central role in protecting mammalian cells against oxidative injury. Glutamate cysteine ligase (GCL) is the rate-limiting enzyme in GSH biosynthesis and is a heterodimeric holoenzyme composed of catalytic (GCLC) and modifier (GCLM) subunits. As a means of assessing the cytoprotective effects of enhanced GSH biosynthetic capacity, we have developed a protein transduction approach whereby recombinant GCL protein can be rapidly and directly transferred into cells when coupled to the HIV TAT protein transduction domain. Bacterial expression vectors encoding TAT fusion proteins of both GCL subunits were generated and recombinant fusion proteins were synthesized and purified to near homogeneity. The TAT-GCL fusion proteins were capable of heterodimerization and formation of functional GCL holoenzyme in vitro. Exposure of Hepa-1c1c7 cells to the TAT-GCL fusion proteins resulted in the time- and dose-dependent transduction of both GCL subunits and increased cellular GCL activity and GSH levels. A heterodimerization-competent, enzymatically deficient GCLC-TAT mutant was also generated in an attempt to create a dominant-negative suppressor of GCL. Transduction of cells with a catalytically inactive GCLC(E103A)-TAT mutant decreased cellular GCL activity in a dose-dependent manner. TAT-mediated manipulation of cellular GCL activity was also functionally relevant as transduction with wild-type GCLC(WT)-TAT or mutant GCLC(E103A)-TAT conferred protection or enhanced sensitivity to H(2)O(2)-induced cell death, respectively. These findings demonstrate that TAT-mediated transduction of wild-type or dominant-inhibitory mutants of the GCL subunits is a viable means of manipulating cellular GCL activity to assess the effects of altered GSH biosynthetic capacity.
    Toxicology and Applied Pharmacology 11/2009; 243(1):35-45. · 3.98 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: Glutathione (GSH) is a tripeptide composed of glutamate, cysteine, and glycine. The first and rate-limiting step in GSH synthesis is catalyzed by glutamate cysteine ligase (GCL, previously known as gamma-glutamylcysteine synthetase). GCL is a heterodimeric protein composed of catalytic (GCLC) and modifier (GCLM) subunits that are expressed from different genes. GCLC catalyzes a unique gamma-carboxyl linkage from glutamate to cysteine and requires ATP and Mg(++) as cofactors in this reaction. GCLM increases the V(max) and K(cat) of GCLC, decreases the K(m) for glutamate and ATP, and increases the K(i) for GSH-mediated feedback inhibition of GCL. While post-translational modifications of GCLC (e.g. phosphorylation, myristoylation, caspase-mediated cleavage) have modest effects on GCL activity, oxidative stress dramatically affects GCL holoenzyme formation and activity. Pyridine nucleotides can also modulate GCL activity in some species. Variability in GCL expression is associated with several disease phenotypes and transgenic mouse and rat models promise to be highly useful for investigating the relationships between GCL activity, GSH synthesis, and disease in humans.
    Molecular Aspects of Medicine 10/2008; 30(1-2):86-98. · 10.38 Impact Factor