Protein-RNA cross-linking in the ribosomes of yeast under oxidative stress

Hamid Mirzaei, Fred Regnier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Living systems have efficient degradative pathways for dealing with the fact that reactive oxygen species (ROS) derived from cellular metabolism and the environment oxidatively damage proteins and DNA. But aggregation and cross-linking can occur as well, leading to a series of problems including disruption of cellular regulation, mutations, and even cell death. The mechanism(s) by which protein aggregation occurs and the macromolecular species involved are poorly understood. In the study reported here, evidence is provided for a new type of aggregate between proteins and RNA in ribosomes. While studying the effect of oxidative stress induced in the yeast proteome it was noted that ribosomal proteins were widely oxidized. Eighty six percent of the proteins in yeast ribosomes were found to be carbonylated after stressing yeast cell cultures with hydrogen peroxide. Moreover, many of these proteins appeared to be cross-linked based on their coelution patterns during RPC separation. Since they were not in direct contact, it was not clear how this could occur unless it was through the RNA separating them in the ribosome. This was confirmed in a multiple-step process, the first being derivatization of all carbonylated proteins in cell lysates with biotin hydrazide through Schiff base formation. Following reduction of Schiff bases with sodium cyanoborohydride, biotinylated proteins were selected from cell lysates with avidin affinity chromatography. Oxidized proteins thus captured were then selected again using boronate affinity chromatography to capture vicinal diol-containing proteins. This would include proteins cross-linked to an RNA fragment containing a ribose residue with 2′,3′-hydroxyl groups. Some glycoproteins would also be selected by this process. LC/MS/MS analyses of tryptic peptides derived from proteins captured by this process along with MASCOT searches resulted in the identification of 37 ribosomal proteins that appear to be cross-linked to RNA. Aggregation of proteins with ribosomal RNA has not been previously reported. The probable impact of this phenomenon cells is to diminish the protein synthesis capacity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3249-3259
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Proteome Research
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2006


  • Avidin affinity chromatography
  • Biotin hydrazide
  • Boronate affinity chromatography
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Oxidative stress
  • Protein cross-linking
  • Protein fragmentation
  • Protein-RNA cross-linking
  • Proteomics
  • Ribosomal proteins
  • Tandem mass spectrometry
  • Yeast

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Chemistry(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Protein-RNA cross-linking in the ribosomes of yeast under oxidative stress'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this