Identification of De Novo Synthesized and Relatively Older Proteins

Accelerated Oxidative Damage to De Novo Synthesized Apolipoprotein A-1 in Type 1 Diabetes

  1. K. Sreekumaran Nair1
  1. 1Division of Endocrinology, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota;
  2. 2Proteomic Research Center, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota.
  1. Corresponding author: K. Sreekumaran Nair, nair.sree{at}
  • G.C.H. is currently affiliated with Rutgers University, New Brunswick, New Jersey. A.J. is currently affiliated with Chellaram Diabetes Institute, Pune, India.


OBJECTIVE The accumulation of old and damaged proteins likely contributes to complications of diabetes, but currently no methodology is available to measure the relative age of a specific protein alongside assessment of posttranslational modifications (PTM). To accomplish our goal of studying the impact of insulin deficiency and hyperglycemia in type 1 diabetes upon accumulation of old damaged isoforms of plasma apolipoprotein A-1 (ApoA-1), we sought to develop a novel methodology, which is reported here and can also be applied to other specific proteins.

RESEARCH DESIGN AND METHODS To label newly synthesized proteins, [ring-13C6]phenylalanine was intravenously infused for 8 h in type 1 diabetic participants (n = 7) during both insulin treatment and 8 h of insulin deprivation and in nondiabetic participants (n = 7). ApoA-1 isoforms were purified by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2DGE) and assessment of protein identity, PTM, and [ring-13C6]phenylalanine isotopic enrichment (IE) was performed by tandem mass spectrometry.

RESULTS Five isoforms of plasma ApoA-1 were identified by 2DGE including ApoA-1 precursor (pro-ApoA-1) that contained the relatively highest IE, whereas the older forms contained higher degrees of damage (carbonylation, deamidation) and far less IE. In type 1 diabetes, the relative ratio of IE of [ring-13C6]phenylalanine in an older isoform versus pro-ApoA-1 was higher during insulin deprivation, indicating that de novo synthesized pro-ApoA-1 more rapidly accumulated damage, converting to mature ApoA-1.

CONCLUSIONS We developed a mass spectrometry–based methodology to identify the relative age of protein isoforms. The results demonstrated accelerated oxidative damage to plasma ApoA-1, thus offering a potential mechanism underlying the impact of poor glycemic control in type 1 diabetic patients that affects a patient's risk for vascular disease.


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  • See accompanying commentary, p. 2358.

  • Received March 16, 2010.
  • Accepted June 25, 2010.

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  1. Diabetes vol. 59 no. 10 2366-2374
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