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Leonova, T.; Popova, V.; Tsarev, A.; Henning, C.; Antonova, K.; Rogovskaya, N.; Vikhnina, M.; Baldensperger, T.; Soboleva, A.; Dinastia, E.; Dorn, M.; Shiroglasova, O.; Grishina, T.; Balcke, G. U.; Ihling, C.; Smolikova, G.; Medvedev, S.; Zhukov, V. A.; Babakov, V.; Tikhonovich, I. A.; Glomb, M. A.; Bilova, T.; Frolov, A. Does Protein Glycation Impact on the Drought-Related Changes in Metabolism and Nutritional Properties of Mature Pea (Pisum sativum L.) Seeds? Int J Mol Sci 21, 567, (2020) DOI: 10.3390/ijms21020567

Protein glycation is usually referred to as an array of non-enzymatic post-translational modifications formed by reducing sugars and carbonyl products of their degradation. The resulting advanced glycation end products (AGEs) represent a heterogeneous group of covalent adducts, known for their pro-inflammatory effects in mammals, and impacting on pathogenesis of metabolic diseases and ageing. In plants, AGEs are the markers of tissue ageing and response to environmental stressors, the most prominent of which is drought. Although water deficit enhances protein glycation in leaves, its effect on seed glycation profiles is still unknown. Moreover, the effect of drought on biological activities of seed protein in mammalian systems is still unstudied with respect to glycation. Therefore, here we address the effects of a short-term drought on the patterns of seed protein-bound AGEs and accompanying alterations in pro-inflammatory properties of seed protein in the context of seed metabolome dynamics. A short-term drought, simulated as polyethylene glycol-induced osmotic stress and applied at the stage of seed filling, resulted in the dramatic suppression of primary seed metabolism, although the secondary metabolome was minimally affected. This was accompanied with significant suppression of NF-kB activation in human SH-SY5Y neuroblastoma cells after a treatment with protein hydrolyzates, isolated from the mature seeds of drought-treated plants. This effect could not be attributed to formation of known AGEs. Most likely, the prospective anti-inflammatory effect of short-term drought is related to antioxidant effect of unknown secondary metabolite protein adducts, or down-regulation of unknown plant-specific AGEs due to suppression of energy metabolism during seed filling.

Antonova, K.; Vikhnina, M.; Soboleva, A.; Mehmood, T.; Heymich, M.-L.; Leonova, T.; Bankin, M.; Lukasheva, E.; Gensberger-Reigl, S.; Medvedev, S.; Smolikova, G.; Pischetsrieder, M.; Frolov, A. Analysis of Chemically Labile Glycation Adducts in Seed Proteins: Case Study of Methylglyoxal-Derived Hydroimidazolone 1 (MG-H1) Int J Mol Sci 20, 3659, (2019) DOI: 10.3390/ijms20153659

Seeds represent the major source of food protein, impacting on both human nutrition and animal feeding. Therefore, seed quality needs to be appropriately addressed in the context of viability and food safety. Indeed, long-term and inappropriate storage of seeds might result in enhancement of protein glycation, which might affect their quality and longevity. Glycation of seed proteins can be probed by exhaustive acid hydrolysis and quantification of the glycation adduct Nɛ-(carboxymethyl)lysine (CML) by liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). This approach, however, does not allow analysis of thermally and chemically labile glycation adducts, like glyoxal-, methylglyoxal- and 3-deoxyglucosone-derived hydroimidazolones. Although enzymatic hydrolysis might be a good solution in this context, it requires aqueous conditions, which cannot ensure reconstitution of seed protein isolates. Because of this, the complete profiles of seed advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are not characterized so far. Therefore, here we propose the approach, giving access to quantitative solubilization of seed proteins in presence of sodium dodecyl sulfate (SDS) and their quantitative enzymatic hydrolysis prior to removal of SDS by reversed phase solid phase extraction (RP-SPE). Using methylglyoxal-derived hydroimidazolone 1 (MG-H1) as a case example, we demonstrate the applicability of this method for reliable and sensitive LC-MS-based quantification of chemically labile AGEs and its compatibility with bioassays.

Soboleva, A.; Mavropulo-Stolyarenko, G.; Karonova, T.; Thieme, D.; Hoehenwarter, W.; Ihling, C.; Stefanov, V.; Grishina, T.; Frolov, A. Multiple Glycation Sites in Blood Plasma Proteins as an Integrated Biomarker of Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Int J Mol Sci 20, 2329, (2019) DOI: 10.3390/ijms20092329

Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is one of the most widely spread metabolic diseases. Because of its asymptomatic onset and slow development, early diagnosis and adequate glycaemic control are the prerequisites for successful T2DM therapy. In this context, individual amino acid residues might be sensitive indicators of alterations in blood glycation levels. Moreover, due to a large variation in the half-life times of plasma proteins, a generalized biomarker, based on multiple glycation sites, might provide comprehensive control of the glycemic status across any desired time span. Therefore, here, we address the patterns of glycation sites in highly-abundant blood plasma proteins of T2DM patients and corresponding age- and gender-matched controls by comprehensive liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry (LC-MS). The analysis revealed 42 lysyl residues, significantly upregulated under hyperglycemic conditions. Thereby, for 32 glycation sites, biomarker behavior was demonstrated here for the first time. The differentially glycated lysines represented nine plasma proteins with half-lives from 2 to 21 days, giving access to an integrated biomarker based on multiple protein-specific Amadori peptides. The validation of this biomarker relied on linear discriminant analysis (LDA) with random sub-sampling of the training set and leave-one-out cross-validation (LOOCV), which resulted in an accuracy, specificity, and sensitivity of 92%, 100%, and 85%, respectively.

Shumilina, J.; Kusnetsova, A.; Tsarev, A.; Janse van Rensburg, H. C.; Medvedev, S.; Demidchik, V.; Van den Ende, W.; Frolov, A. Glycation of Plant Proteins: Regulatory Roles and Interplay with Sugar Signalling? Int J Mol Sci 20, 2366, (2019) DOI: 10.3390/ijms20092366

Glycation can be defined as an array of non-enzymatic post-translational modifications of proteins formed by their interaction with reducing carbohydrates and carbonyl products of their degradation. Initial steps of this process rely on reducing sugars and result in the formation of early glycation products—Amadori and Heyns compounds via Schiff base intermediates, whereas their oxidative degradation or reactions of proteins with α-dicarbonyl compounds yield a heterogeneous group of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). These compounds accompany thermal processing of protein-containing foods and are known to impact on ageing, pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus and Alzheimer’s disease in mammals. Surprisingly, despite high tissue carbohydrate contents, glycation of plant proteins was addressed only recently and its physiological role in plants is still not understood. Therefore, here we summarize and critically discuss the first steps done in the field of plant protein glycation during the last decade. We consider the main features of plant glycated proteome and discuss them in the context of characteristic metabolic background. Further, we address the possible role of protein glycation in plants and consider its probable contribution to protein degradation, methylglyoxal and sugar signalling, as well as interplay with antioxidant defense.

Osmolovskaya, N.; Shumilina, J.; Kim, A.; Didio, A.; Grishina, T.; Bilova, T.; Keltsieva, O. A.; Zhukov, V.; Tikhonovich, I.; Tarakhovskaya, E.; Frolov, A.; Wessjohann, L. A. Methodology of Drought Stress Research: Experimental Setup and Physiological Characterization Int J Mol Sci 19, 4089, (2018) DOI: 10.3390/ijms19124089

Drought is one of the major stress factors affecting the growth and development of plants. In this context, drought-related losses of crop plant productivity impede sustainable agriculture all over the world. In general, plants respond to water deficits by multiple physiological and metabolic adaptations at the molecular, cellular, and organism levels. To understand the underlying mechanisms of drought tolerance, adequate stress models and arrays of reliable stress markers are required. Therefore, in this review we comprehensively address currently available models of drought stress, based on culturing plants in soil, hydroponically, or in agar culture, and critically discuss advantages and limitations of each design. We also address the methodology of drought stress characterization and discuss it in the context of real experimental approaches. Further, we highlight the trends of methodological developments in drought stress research, i.e., complementing conventional tests with quantification of phytohormones and reactive oxygen species (ROS), measuring antioxidant enzyme activities, and comprehensively profiling transcriptome, proteome, and metabolome.

Mamontova, T.; Lukasheva, E.; Mavropolo-Stolyarenko, G.; Proksch, C.; Bilova, T.; Kim, A.; Babakov, V.; Grishina, T.; Hoehenwarter, W.; Medvedev, S.; Smolikova, G.; Frolov, A. Proteome Map of Pea (Pisum sativum L.) Embryos Containing Different Amounts of Residual Chlorophylls Int J Mol Sci 19, 4066, (2018) DOI: 10.3390/ijms19124066

Due to low culturing costs and high seed protein contents, legumes represent the main global source of food protein. Pea (Pisum sativum L.) is one of the major legume crops, impacting both animal feed and human nutrition. Therefore, the quality of pea seeds needs to be ensured in the context of sustainable crop production and nutritional efficiency. Apparently, changes in seed protein patterns might directly affect both of these aspects. Thus, here, we address the pea seed proteome in detail and provide, to the best of our knowledge, the most comprehensive annotation of the functions and intracellular localization of pea seed proteins. To address possible intercultivar differences, we compared seed proteomes of yellow- and green-seeded pea cultivars in a comprehensive case study. The analysis revealed totally 1938 and 1989 nonredundant proteins, respectively. Only 35 and 44 proteins, respectively, could be additionally identified after protamine sulfate precipitation (PSP), potentially indicating the high efficiency of our experimental workflow. Totally 981 protein groups were assigned to 34 functional classes, which were to a large extent differentially represented in yellow and green seeds. Closer analysis of these differences by processing of the data in KEGG and String databases revealed their possible relation to a higher metabolic status and reduced longevity of green seeds.

Smolikova, G.; Dolgikh, E.; Vikhnina, M.; Frolov, A.; Medvedev, S. Genetic and Hormonal Regulation of Chlorophyll Degradation during Maturation of Seeds with Green Embryos Int J Mol Sci 18, 1993, (2017) DOI: 10.3390/ijms18091993

The embryos of some angiosperms (usually referred to as chloroembryos) contain chlorophylls during the whole period of embryogenesis. Developing embryos have photochemically active chloroplasts and are able to produce assimilates, further converted in reserve biopolymers, whereas at the late steps of embryogenesis, seeds undergo dehydration, degradation of chlorophylls, transformation of chloroplast in storage plastids, and enter the dormancy period. However, in some seeds, the process of chlorophyll degradation remains incomplete. These residual chlorophylls compromise the quality of seed material in terms of viability, nutritional value, and shelf life, and represent a serious challenge for breeders and farmers. The mechanisms of chlorophyll degradation during seed maturation are still not completely understood, and only during the recent decades the main pathways and corresponding enzymes could be characterized. Among the identified players, the enzymes of pheophorbide a oxygenase pathway and the proteins encoded by STAY GREEN (SGR) genes are the principle ones. On the biochemical level, abscisic acid (ABA) is the main regulator of seed chlorophyll degradation, mediating activity of corresponding catabolic enzymes on the transcriptional level. In general, a deep insight in the mechanisms of chlorophyll degradation is required to develop the approaches for production of chlorophyll-free high quality seeds. 

Soboleva, A.; Schmidt, R.; Vikhnina, M.; Grishina, T.; Frolov, A. Maillard Proteomics: Opening New Pages Int J Mol Sci 18, 2677, (2017) DOI: 10.3390/ijms18122677

Protein glycation is a ubiquitous non-enzymatic post-translational modification, formed by reaction of protein amino and guanidino groups with carbonyl compounds, presumably reducing sugars and α-dicarbonyls. Resulting advanced glycation end products (AGEs) represent a highly heterogeneous group of compounds, deleterious in mammals due to their pro-inflammatory effect, and impact in pathogenesis of diabetes mellitus, Alzheimer’s disease and ageing. The body of information on the mechanisms and pathways of AGE formation, acquired during the last decades, clearly indicates a certain site-specificity of glycation. It makes characterization of individual glycation sites a critical pre-requisite for understanding in vivo mechanisms of AGE formation and developing adequate nutritional and therapeutic approaches to reduce it in humans. In this context, proteomics is the methodology of choice to address site-specific molecular changes related to protein glycation. Therefore, here we summarize the methods of Maillard proteomics, specifically focusing on the techniques providing comprehensive structural and quantitative characterization of glycated proteome. Further, we address the novel break-through areas, recently established in the field of Maillard research, i.e., in vitro models based on synthetic peptides, site-based diagnostics of metabolism-related diseases (e.g., diabetes mellitus), proteomics of anti-glycative defense, and dynamics of plant glycated proteome during ageing and response to environmental stress.

Soboleva, A.; Vikhnina, M.; Grishina, T.; Frolov, A. Probing Protein Glycation by Chromatography and Mass Spectrometry: Analysis of Glycation Adducts Int J Mol Sci 18, 2557, (2017) DOI: 10.3390/ijms18122557

Glycation is a non-enzymatic post-translational modification of proteins, formed by the reaction of reducing sugars and α-dicarbonyl products of their degradation with amino and guanidino groups of proteins. Resulted early glycation products are readily involved in further transformation, yielding a heterogeneous group of advanced glycation end products (AGEs). Their formation is associated with ageing, metabolic diseases, and thermal processing of foods. Therefore, individual glycation adducts are often considered as the markers of related pathologies and food quality. In this context, their quantification in biological and food matrices is required for diagnostics and establishment of food preparation technologies. For this, exhaustive protein hydrolysis with subsequent amino acid analysis is the strategy of choice. Thereby, multi-step enzymatic digestion procedures ensure good recoveries for the most of AGEs, whereas tandem mass spectrometry (MS/MS) in the multiple reaction monitoring (MRM) mode with stable isotope dilution or standard addition represents “a gold standard” for their quantification. Although the spectrum of quantitatively assessed AGE structures is continuously increases, application of untargeted profiling techniques for identification of new products is desired, especially for in vivo characterization of anti-glycative systems. Thereby, due to a high glycative potential of plant metabolites, more attention needs to be paid on plant-derived AGEs.

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