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    Characterization of Rat Liver Proteins Adducted by Reactive Metabolites of Menthofuran

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    Pulegone is the major constituent of pennyroyal oil, a folkloric abortifacient that is associated with hepatotoxicity and, in severe cases, death. Cytochrome P450-mediated oxidation of pulegone generates menthofuran, which is further oxidized to form electrophilic reactive intermediates, menthofuran epoxide and the ring-opened γ-ketoenal, both of which can form adducts to hepatocellular proteins. Modification of hepatocellular proteins by the electrophilic reactive intermediates of menthofuran has been implicated in hepatotoxicity caused by pennyroyal oil. Herein, we describe the identification of several proteins that are the likely targets of menthofuran-derived reactive metabolites. These proteins were isolated from the livers of rats treated with a hepatotoxic dose of menthofuran by two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2D-gel) separation and detected by Western blot analysis using an antiserum developed to detect protein adducts resulting from menthofuran bioactivation. The antibody-reacting proteins were excised from the 2D-gel and subjected to tryptic digestion for analysis of peptide fragments by LC-MS/MS. Although 10 spots were detected by Western blot analysis, only 4 were amenable to characterization by LC-MS/MS: serum albumin, mitochondrial aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH2), cytoplasmic malate dehydrogenase (MDH1), and mitochondrial ATP synthase subunit d. No direct adduct was detected, and, therefore, we complemented our analysis with enzyme activity determination. ALDH2 activity decreased by 88%, and ATP synthase complex V activity decreased by 34%, with no activity changes to MDH1. Although the relationship between these reactive metabolite adducted proteins and hepatotoxicity is not clear, these targeted enzymes are known to play critical roles in maintaining cellular homeostasis