Detection of protein carbonyls in aging liver tissue: A fluorescence-based proteomic approach

Asish R. Chaudhuri, Eric M. de Waal, Anson Pierce, Holly Van Remmen, Walter F. Ward, Arlan Richardson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

133 Scopus citations


Protein carbonyls are commonly used as a marker of protein oxidation in cells and tissues. Currently, 2,4-dinitrophenyl hydrazine (DNPH) is widely used (spectrophotometrically or immunologically) to quantify the global carbonyl levels in proteins and identify the specific proteins that are carbonylated. We have adapted a fluorescence-based approach using fluorescein-5-thiosemicarbazide (FTC), to quantify the global protein carbonyls as well as the carbonyl levels on individual proteins in the proteome. Protein carbonyls generated in vitro were quantified by labeling the oxidized proteins with FTC followed by separating the FTC-labeled protein from free probe by gel electrophoresis. The reaction of FTC with protein carbonyls was found to be specific for carbonyl groups. We measured protein carbonyl levels in the livers of young and old mice, and found a significant increase (two-fold) in the global protein carbonyl levels with age. Using 2-D gel electrophoresis, we used this assay to directly measure the changes in protein carbonyl levels in specific proteins. We identified 12 proteins showing a greater than two-fold increase in carbonyl content (pmoles of carbonyls/μg of protein) with age. Most of the 12 proteins contained transition metal binding sites, with Cu/Zn superoxide dismutase containing the highest molar ratio of carbonyls in old mice. Thus, the fluorescence-based assay gives investigators the ability to identify potential target proteins that become oxidized under different pathological and physiological conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)849-861
Number of pages13
JournalMechanisms of Ageing and Development
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Aging
  • Fluorescence
  • Protein carbonyls
  • Protein oxidation
  • Proteomics

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aging
  • Developmental Biology


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