4-Hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) is an endogenous product of lipid peroxidation known to play a role in cellular signaling through protein modification and is a major precursor for protein carbonyl adducts found in alcoholic liver disease (ALD). In the present study, a greater than 2-fold increase in protein carbonylation of sirtuin 3 (SIRT3), a mitochondrial class III histone deacetylase, is reported in liver mitochondrial extracts of ethanol-consuming mice. The consequence of this in vivo carbonylation on SIRT3 deacetylase activity is unknown. Interestingly, mitochondrial protein hyperacetylation was observed in a time-dependent increase in a model of chronic ethanol consumption; however, the underlying mechanisms for this remain unknown. Tandem mass spectrometry was used to identify and characterize the in vitro covalent modification of rSIRT3 by 4-HNE at Cys280, a critical zinc-binding residue, and the resulting inhibition of rSIRT3 activity via pathophysiologically relevant concentrations of 4-HNE. Computational-based molecular modeling simulations indicate that 4-HNE modification alters the conformation of the zinc-binding domain inducing minor changes within the active site, resulting in the allosteric inhibition of SIRT3 activity. These conformational data are supported by the calculated binding energies derived from molecular docking studies suggesting the substrate peptide of acetyl-CoA synthetase 2 (AceCS2-Kac) and display a greater affinity for native SIRT3 as compared with the 4-HNE adducted protein. The results of this study characterize altered mitochondrial protein acetylation in a mouse model of chronic ethanol ingestion and thiol-specific allosteric inhibition of rSIRT3 resulting from 4-HNE adduction.
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