Oxygen is essential for the growth and function of mammalian cells. However, imbalances in oxygen or abnormalities in the ability of a cell to respond to oxygen levels can result in oxidative stress. Oxidative stress plays an important role in a number of diseases including atherosclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, neurodegenerative diseases and asthma. When membrane lipids are exposed to high levels of oxygen or derived oxidants, they undergo lipid peroxidation to generate oxidized phospholipids (oxPL). Continual exposure to oxidants and decomposition of oxPL results in the formation of reactive electrophiles, such as 4-hydroxy-2-nonenal (HNE). Reactive lipid electrophiles have been shown to covalently modify DNA and proteins. Furthermore, exposure of cells to lipid electrophiles results in the activation of cytoprotective signaling pathways in order to promote cell survival and recovery from oxidant stress. However, if not properly managed by cellular detoxification mechanisms, the continual exposure of cells to electrophiles results in cytotoxicity. The following perspective will discuss the biological importance of lipid electrophile protein adducts including current strategies employed to identify and isolate protein adducts of lipid electrophiles as well as approaches to define cellular signaling mechanisms altered upon exposure to electrophiles. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Oxidized phospholipids-their properties and interactions with proteins.
Copyright © 2012 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.