Oxidative Stress Causes Modifications and Decreased Function of System xc-

Faculty Mentor(s)

Dr. Leah Chase, Hope College

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This material is based upon work supported by the NSF under grant No. RUI-0843564 and HHMI Research Scholars Program.


Oxidative stress represents an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species, and their removal by antioxidants. System xc- is a plasma membrane transport system that exchanges intracellular glutamate for extracellular cystine, a precursor to cysteine, the limiting reagent for glutathione production. As glutathione is an endogeneous antioxidant, system xc- plays a role in combating oxidative stress. Previously, our lab has observed using western blot analysis that a fraction of xCT shifts to a higher molecular weight form after hydrogen peroxide exposure. As hydrogen peroxide produces free radicals, we believe xCT is oxidized, therefore decreasing its function. Two methods are being taken to observe oxidation, biochemical strategies in our lab and mass spectroscopy done at Michigan State. Biochemical strategies include DNPH assays to detect the presence of carbonyls after oxidative stress. Results indicate that xCT is oxidized. In addition to oxidation, proteins may also be glutathionylated on cysteine residues and/or form high molecular weight multimers as a result of cross-linking by reactive cyteine residues. Mass spectroscopy will help identify specific locations of oxidation. Once targets are identifies, a combination of site-directed mutagenesis and mass spectroscopy will be used to identify critical residues that are modified post oxidative stress.

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