The role of protein oxidation in ageing & disease

  • Sabah Pasha

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


Ageing is a natural phenomenon of the human lifecycle, yet it is still not understood what causes the deterioration of the human body near the end of the lifespan. One popular theory is the Free Radical Theory of Ageing, which proposes that oxidative damage to biomolecules causes ageing of tissues. The ageing population is affected by many chronic diseases. This study focused on sarcopenia (muscle loss in ageing) and obesity as two models for comparison of oxidative damage in muscle proteins in mice. The aim of the study was to develop advanced mass spectrometry methods to detect specific oxidative modifications to mouse muscle proteins, including oxidation, nitration, chlorination, and carbonyl group formation, but western blotting was also used to provide complementary information on the oxidative state of proteins from aged and obese muscle. Mass spectrometry proved to be a powerful tool, enabling identification of the types of modifications present, the sites at which they were present and percentage of the peptide populations that were modified. Targeted and semi-targeted mass spectrometry methods were optimised for the identification and quantitation of the oxidised residues in muscle proteins. The development of the quantitative methods enabled comparisons of mass spectrometry instruments. Both the Time of Flight and QTRAP systems showed advantages of using the different mass analysers to quantify oxidative modifications. Several oxidised residues were characterised and quantified in both the obese and sarcopenic models, and higher levels of oxidation were found compared to their control counterparts. Residues found to be oxidised were oxidation of proline, tyrosine and tryptophan, dioxidation of methionine, allysine and nitration of tyrosine. However quantification was performed on methionine dioxidation and cysteine trioxidation containing residues in SERCA. The combination of measuring residue susceptibility and functional studies could contribute to understanding the overall role of oxidation in ageing and obesity.
Date of Award2016
Original languageEnglish
SupervisorAndrew Pitt (Supervisor) & Corinne Spickett (Supervisor)


  • Mass Spectrometry (MS),
  • Oxidative Post-Translational Modifications (OxPTMs)
  • muscle proteomics
  • sarcopenia,
  • obesity

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