Elevated free nitrotyrosine levels, but not protein-bound nitrotyrosine or hydroxyl radicals, throughout amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)-like disease implicate tyrosine nitration as an aberrant in vivo property of one familial als-linked superoxide dismutase 1 mutant
Nerve Tissue Proteins
Mutations in superoxide dismutase 1 (SOD1; EC 184.108.40.206) are responsible for a proportion of familial amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) through acquisition of an as-yet-unidentified toxic property or properties. Two proposed possibilities are that toxicity may arise from imperfectly folded mutant SOD1 catalyzing the nitration of tyrosines [Beckman, J. S., Carson, M., Smith, C. D. & Koppenol, W. H. (1993) Nature (London) 364, 584] through use of peroxynitrite or from peroxidation arising from elevated production of hydroxyl radicals through use of hydrogen peroxide as a substrate [Wiedau-Pazos, M., Goto, J. J., Rabizadeh, S., Gralla, E. D., Roe, J. A., Valentine, J. S. & Bredesen, D. E. (1996) Science 271, 515-518]. To test these possibilities, levels of nitrotyrosine and markers for hydroxyl radical formation were measured in two lines of transgenic mice that develop progressive motor neuron disease from expressing human familial ALS-linked SOD1 mutation G37R. Relative to normal mice or mice expressing high levels of wild-type human SOD1, 3-nitrotyrosine levels were elevated by 2- to 3-fold in spinal cords coincident with the earliest pathological abnormalities and remained elevated in spinal cord throughout progression of disease. However, no increases in protein-bound nitrotyrosine were found during any stage of SOD1-mutant-mediated disease in mice or at end stage of sporadic or SOD1-mediated familial human ALS. When salicylate trapping of hydroxyl radicals and measurement of levels of malondialdehyde were used, there was no evidence throughout disease progression in mice for enhanced production of hydroxyl radicals or lipid peroxidation, respectively. The presence of elevated nitrotyrosine levels beginning at the earliest stages of cellular pathology and continuing throughout progression of disease demonstrates that tyrosine nitration is one in vivo aberrant property of this ALS-linked SOD1 mutant.