Role of cytochrome P450 2E1 in protein nitration and ubiquitin-mediated degradation during acetaminophen toxicity

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Graphical abstractCYP2E1 is important in protein nitration and ubiquitin-dependent degradation of nitrated proteins during acetaminophen-mediated hepatic necrotic damageIt is well established that following a toxic dose of acetaminophen (APAP), nitrotyrosine protein adducts (3-NT), a hallmark of peroxynitrite production, were colocalized with necrotic hepatic centrilobular regions where cytochrome P450 2E1 (CYP2E1) is highly expressed, suggesting that 3-NT formation may be essential in APAP-mediated toxicity. This study was aimed at investigating the relationship between CYP2E1 and nitration (3-NT formation) followed by ubiquitin-mediated degradation of proteins in wild-type and Cyp2e1-null mice exposed to APAP (200 and 400 mg/kg) for 4 and 24 h. Markedly increased centrilobular liver necrosis and 3-NT formation were only observed in APAP-exposed wild-type mice in a dose- and time-dependent manner, confirming an important role for CYP2E1 in APAP biotransformation and toxicity. However, the pattern of 3-NT protein adducts, not accompanied by concurrent activation of nitric oxide synthase (NOS), was similar to that of protein ubiquitination. Immunoblot analysis further revealed that immunoprecipitated nitrated proteins were ubiquitinated in APAP-exposed wild-type mice, confirming the fact that nitrated proteins are more susceptible than the native proteins for ubiquitin-dependent degradation, resulting in shorter half-lives. For instance, cytosolic superoxide dismutase (SOD1) levels were clearly decreased and immunoprecipitated SOD1 was nitrated and ubiquitinated, likely leading to its accelerated degradation in APAP-exposed wild-type mice. These data suggest that CYP2E1 appears to play a key role in 3-NT formation, protein degradation, and liver damage, which is independent of NOS, and that decreased levels of many proteins in the wild-type mice (compared with Cyp2e1-null mice) likely contribute to APAP-related toxicity.

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