Separation and Detection Methods for Covalent Drug–Protein Adducts

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reviews, drug–protein adducts

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Covalent binding of reactive metabolites of drugs to proteins has been a predominant hypothesis for the mechanism of toxicity caused by numerous drugs. The development of efficient and sensitive analytical methods for the separation, identification, quantification of drug–protein adducts have important clinical and toxicological implications. In the last few decades, continuous progress in analytical methodology has been achieved with substantial increase in the number of new, more specific and more sensitive methods for drug–protein adducts. The methods used for drug–protein adduct studies include those for separation and for subsequent detection and identification. Various chromatographic (e.g., affinity chromatography, ion-exchange chromatography, and high-performance liquid chromatography) and electrophoretic techniques [e.g., sodium dodecyl sulfate–polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis (SDS–PAGE), two-dimensional SDS–PAGE, and capillary electrophoresis], used alone or in combination, offer an opportunity to purify proteins adducted by reactive drug metabolites. Conventionally, mass spectrometric (MS), nuclear magnetic resonance, and immunological and radioisotope methods are used to detect and identify protein targets for reactive drug metabolites. However, these methods are labor-intensive, and have provided very limited sequence information on the target proteins adducted, and thus the identities of the protein targets are usually unknown. Moreover, the antibody-based methods are limited by the availability, quality, and specificity of antibodies to protein adducts, which greatly hindered the identification of specific protein targets of drugs and their clinical applications. Recently, the use of powerful MS technologies (e.g., matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight) together with analytical proteomics have enabled one to separate, identify unknown protein adducts, and establish the sequence context of specific adducts by offering the opportunity to search for adducts in proteomes containing a large number of proteins with protein adducts and unmodified proteins. The present review highlights the separation and detection technologies for drug–protein adducts, with an emphasis on methodology, advantages and limitations to these techniques. Furthermore, a brief discussion of the application of these techniques to individual drugs and their target proteins will be outlined.

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Journal of Chromatography B, v. 797, issues 1-2, p. 63-90