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Effect of Glyoxal Modification on a Critical Arginine Residue (Arg-31α) of Hemoglobin: Physiological Implications of Advanced Glycated end Product an in vitro Study

[ Vol. 27 , Issue. 8 ]


Sauradipta Banerjee*   Pages 770 - 781 ( 12 )


Background: Non-enzymatic protein glycation is involved in structure and stability changes that impair protein functionality, resulting in several human diseases, such as diabetes and amyloidotic neuropathies (Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and Andrade’s syndrome). Glyoxal, an endogenous reactive oxoaldehyde, increases in diabetes and reacts with several proteins to form advanced glycation end products through Maillard-like reaction.

Objective: Human hemoglobin, the most abundant protein in blood cells is subjected to nonenzymatic modification by reactive oxoaldehydes in diabetic condition. In the present study, the effect of a low concentration of glyoxal (5 μM) on hemoglobin (10 μM) has been investigated following a period of 30 days incubation in vitro.

Methods: Different techniques, mostly biophysical and spectroscopic (e.g. circular dichroism, differential scanning calorimetric study, dynamic light scattering, mass spectrometry, etc.) were used to study glyoxal-induced changes of hemoglobin.

Results: Glyoxal-treated hemoglobin exhibits decreased absorbance around 280 nm, decreased fluorescence and reduced surface hydrophobicity compared to normal hemoglobin. Glyoxal treatment enhances the stability of hemoglobin and lowers its susceptibility to thermal aggregation compared to control hemoglobin as seen by different studies. Finally, peptide mass fingerprinting study showed glyoxal to modify an arginine residue of α-chain of hemoglobin (Arg-31α) to hydroimidazolone.

Conclusion: Increased level of glyoxal in diabetes mellitus as well as its high reactivity may cause modifications of the heme protein. Thus, considering the significance of glyoxal-induced protein modification under physiological conditions, the observation appears clinically relevant in terms of understanding hydroimidazolone-mediated protein modification under in vivo conditions.


Glyoxal, hemoglobin, advanced glycation end product, hydroimidazolone, mass spectrometry, absorbance.


Department of Biophysics, Molecular Biology & Bioinformatics, University of Calcutta, Kolkata 700009

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