Click chemistry-based thiol redox proteomics reveals significant cysteine reduction induced by chronic ethanol consumption

Harris, Peter S., et al. “Click chemistry-based thiol redox proteomics reveals significant cysteine reduction induced by chronic ethanol consumption.” Redox Biology (2023): 102792.


In the U.S., alcohol-associated liver disease (ALD) impacts millions of people and is a major healthcare burden. While the pathology of ALD is unmistakable, the molecular mechanisms underlying ethanol hepatotoxicity are not fully understood. Hepatic ethanol metabolism is intimately linked with alterations in extracellular and intracellular metabolic processes, specifically oxidation/reduction reactions. The xenobiotic detoxification of ethanol leads to significant disruptions in glycolysis, β-oxidation, and the TCA cycle, as well as oxidative stress. Perturbation of these regulatory networks impacts the redox status of critical regulatory protein thiols throughout the cell. Integrating these key concepts, our goal was to apply a cutting-edge approach toward understanding mechanisms of ethanol metabolism in disrupting hepatic thiol redox signaling. Utilizing a chronic murine model of ALD, we applied a cysteine targeted click chemistry enrichment coupled with quantitative nano HPLC-MS/MS to assess the thiol redox proteome. Our strategy reveals that ethanol metabolism largely reduces the cysteine proteome, with 593 cysteine residues significantly reduced and 8 significantly oxidized cysteines. Ingenuity Pathway Analysis demonstrates that ethanol metabolism reduces specific cysteines throughout ethanol metabolism (Adh1, Cat, Aldh2), antioxidant pathways (Prx1, Mgst1, Gsr), as well as many other biochemical pathways. Interestingly, a sequence motif analysis of reduced cysteines showed a correlation for hydrophilic, charged amino acids lysine or glutamic acid nearby. Further research is needed to determine how a reduced cysteine proteome impacts individual protein activity across these protein targets and pathways. Additionally, understanding how a complex array of cysteine-targeted post-translational modifications (e.g., S–NO, S-GSH, S–OH) are integrated to regulate redox signaling and control throughout the cell is key to the development of redox-centric therapeutic agents targeted to ameliorate the progression of ALD.