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Dicarbonyl stress, protein glycation and the unfolded protein response

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-11-22, 21:11 authored by Naila Rabbani, Mingzhan Xue, Paul J. Thornalley

The reactive dicarbonyl metabolite, methylglyoxal (MG), is increased in obesity and diabetes and is implicated in the development of insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes mellitus and vascular complications of diabetes. Dicarbonyl stress is the metabolic state of abnormal high MG concentration. MG is an arginine-directed glycating agent and precursor of the major advanced glycation endproduct, arginine-derived hydroimidazolone MG-H1. MG-H1 is often formed on protein surfaces and an uncharged hydrophobic residue, inducing protein structural distortion and misfolding. Recent studies indicate that dicarbonyl stress in human endothelial cells and fibroblasts in vitro induced a proteomic response consistent with activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR). The response included: increased abundance of heat shock proteins and ubiquitin ligases catalysing the removal of proteins with unshielded surface hydrophobic patches and formation of polyubiquitinated chains to encapsulate misfolded proteins; and increased low grade inflammation. Activation of the UPR is implicated in insulin resistance. An effective strategy to counter increased MG is inducing increased expression of glyoxalase-1 (Glo1). An optimized inducer of Glo1 expression, trans-resveratrol and hesperetin combination, normalized increased MG concentration, corrected insulin resistance and decreased low grade inflammation in overweight and obese subjects. We propose that dicarbonyl stress, through increased formation of MG-glycated proteins, may be an important physiological stimulus of the UPR and Glo1 inducers may provide a route to effective suppression and therapy. With further investigation and validation, this may provide key new insight into physiological activators of the UPR and association with dicarbonyl stress.

Other Information

Published in: Glycoconjugate Journal
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  • English


Springer Science and Business Media LLC

Publication Year

  • 2021

Institution affiliated with

  • Hamad Bin Khalifa University

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