Mitochondrial superoxide (O2.- ) is an important mediator of ischemia/reperfusion (I/R) injury. The O22.- generated in mitochondria also acts as a redox signal triggering cellular apoptosis. The enzyme succinate ubiquinone reductase (SQR or complex II) is one of the major mitochondrial components hosting regulatory thiols. Here the intrinsic protein S-glutathionylation (PrSSG) at the 70-kDa FAD-binding subunit of SQR was detected in rat heart and in isolated SQR using an anti-GSH monoclonal antibody. When rats were subjected to 30 min of coronary ligation followed by 24 h of reperfusion, the electron transfer activity (ETA) of SQR in post-ischemic myocardium was significantly decreased by 41.5 ± 2.9%. The PrSSGs of SQR-70 kDa were partially or completely eliminated in post-ischemic myocardium obtained from in vivo regional I/R hearts or isolated global I/R hearts, respectively. These results were further confirmed by using isolated succinate cytochrome c reductase (complex II + complex III). In the presence of succinate, O2.- was generated and oxidized the SQR portion of SCR, leading to a 60-70% decrease in its ETA. The gel band of the S-glutathionylated SQR 70-kDa polypeptide was cut out and digested with trypsin, and the digests were subjected to liquid chromatography/tandem mass spectrometry analysis. One cysteine residue, Cys90, was involved in S-glutathionylation. These results indicate that the glutathione-binding domain, 77AAFGLSEAGFNTACVTK93 (where underline indicates Cys 90), is susceptible to redox change induced by oxidative stress. Furthermore, in vitro S-glutathionylation of purified SQR resulted in enhanced SQR-derived electron transfer efficiency and decreased formation of the 70-kDa-derived protein thiyl radical induced by O2.-. Thus, the decreasing S-glutathionylation and ETA in mitochondrial complex II are marked during myocardial ischemia/reperfusion. This redox-triggered impairment of complex II occurs in the post-ischemic heart and should be useful to identify disease pathogenesis related to reactive oxygen species-induced mitochondrial dysfunction.
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