An important feature of poly(ADP-ribose) polymerases (PARPs) is their ability to readily undergo automodification upon activation. Although a growing number of substrates were found to be poly(ADP-ribosyl)ated, including histones and several DNA damage response factors, PARPs themselves are still considered as the main acceptors of poly(ADP-ribose). By monitoring spectral counts of specific hydroxamic acid signatures generated after the conversion of the ADP-ribose modification onto peptides by hydroxylamine hydrolysis, we undertook a thorough mass spectrometry mapping of the glutamate and aspartate ADP-ribosylation sites onto automodified PARP-1, PARP-2 and PARP-3. Thousands of hydroxamic acid-conjugated peptides were identified with high confidence and ranked based on their spectral count. This semi-quantitative approach allowed us to locate the preferentially targeted residues in DNA-dependent PARPs. In contrast to what has been reported in the literature, automodification of PARP-1 is not predominantly targeted towards its BRCT domain. Our results show that interdomain linker regions that connect the BRCT to the WGR module and the WGR to the PRD domain undergo prominent ADP-ribosylation during PARP-1 automodification. We also found that PARP-1 efficiently automodifies the D-loop structure within its own catalytic fold. Interestingly, additional major ADP-ribosylation sites were identified in functional domains of PARP-1, including all three zinc fingers. Similar to PARP-1, specific residues located within the catalytic sites of PARP-2 and PARP-3 are major targets of automodification following their DNA-dependent activation. Together our results suggest that poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation hot spots make a dominant contribution to the overall automodification process.
Keywords: ADP-ribose; Hydroxylamine; Mass spectrometry; PARP-1; PARP-2; PARP-3; Poly(ADP-ribosyl)ation; Posttranslational modification; Proteomics.
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