Organophosphorus (OP) compounds can bind covalently to many types of proteins and form protein adducts. These protein adducts can indicate the exposure to and neurotoxicity of OPs. In the present work, we studied adduction of tubulin with the OP insecticide profenofos in vitro and optimized the method for detection of adducted peptides. Porcine tubulin was incubated with profenofos and was then digested with trypsin, followed by mass spectrometric identification of the profenofos-modified tubulin and binding sites. With solvent-assisted digestion (80% acetonitrile in digestion solution), the protein was digested for peptide identification, especially for some peptides with low mass. The MALDI-TOF-MS and LC-ESI-TOF-MS analysis results showed that profenofos bound covalently to Tyr83 in porcine α-tubulin (TGTY*83R) and to Tyr281 in porcine β-tubulin (GSQQY*281R) with a mass increase of 166.02 Da from the original peptide fragments of porcine tubulin proteins. Tyrosine adduct sites were also confirmed by MALDI-TOF/TOF-MS analysis. This result may partially explain the neurotoxicity of profenofos at low doses and prolonged periods of exposure.

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Keywords Adduct, Exposure, LC-Q-TOF-MS, MALDI-TOF/TOF-MS, Organophosphate, Profenofos, Tubulin
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Journal Chemosphere
Chu, S. (Shaogang), Baker, M.R. (Margaret R.), Leong, G. (Gladys), Letcher, R.J, & Li, Q.X. (Qing X.). (2018). Covalent binding of the organophosphate insecticide profenofos to tyrosine on α- and β-tubulin proteins. Chemosphere, 199, 154–159. doi:10.1016/j.chemosphere.2018.02.003