Keratins are the main constituent of human skin and have been identified as major oxidative target proteins. However, there has been a lack of studies aimed at identifying the oxidation sites of keratins because of the difficulties associated with their insolubility and handling. Here, we introduce a mass spectrometry (MS)-based proteomic methodology to screen oxidative modifications in human skin keratins. Human skin proteins were obtained non-invasively by tape stripping and solubilized in SDS buffer, followed by purification and digestion using the modified filter-aided sample preparation method. The tryptic peptides were then analyzed by MALDI-TOF/MS, LC-ESI/MS, and MS/MS. PMF analyses have identified keratins K1 and K10 as the major proteins of human skin. Met 259, Met 262, Met 296, and Met 469, located in the α-helical rod domain of K1, were the most susceptible sites to oxidation induced by hydrogen peroxide in vitro and in vivo. Our results indicate a potential use of the identified methionine residues as biomarkers of oxidative skin damage. The present methodology is the first MS-based approach to detecting oxidative modifications in keratins obtained directly from human skin and can be easily applied to the monitoring of other keratin modifications in various skin conditions.
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