Myeloperoxidase-derived hypochlorous acid targets human airway epithelial plasmalogens liberating protein modifying electrophilic 2-chlorofatty aldehydes

Redox Biol. 2023 Feb;59:102557. doi: 10.1016/j.redox.2022.102557. Epub 2022 Dec 7.


Neutrophil and airway epithelial cell interactions are critical in the inflammatory response to viral infections including respiratory syncytial virus, Sendai virus, and SARS-CoV-2. Airway epithelial cell dysfunction during viral infections is likely mediated by the interaction of virus and recruited neutrophils at the airway epithelial barrier. Neutrophils are key early responders to viral infection. Neutrophil myeloperoxidase catalyzes the conversion of hydrogen peroxide to hypochlorous acid (HOCl). Previous studies have shown HOCl targets host neutrophil and endothelial cell plasmalogen lipids, resulting in the production of the chlorinated lipid, 2-chlorofatty aldehyde (2-ClFALD). We have previously shown that the oxidation product of 2-ClFALD, 2-chlorofatty acid (2-ClFA) is present in bronchoalveolar lavage fluid of Sendai virus-infected mice, which likely results from the attack of the epithelial plasmalogen by neutrophil-derived HOCl. Herein, we demonstrate small airway epithelial cells contain plasmalogens enriched with oleic acid at the sn-2 position unlike endothelial cells which contain arachidonic acid enrichment at the sn-2 position of plasmalogen. We also show neutrophil-derived HOCl targets epithelial cell plasmalogens to produce 2-ClFALD. Further, proteomics and over-representation analysis using the ω-alkyne analog of the 2-ClFALD molecular species, 2-chlorohexadecanal (2-ClHDyA) showed cell adhesion molecule binding and cell-cell junction enriched categories similar to that observed previously in endothelial cells. However, in contrast to endothelial cells, proteins in distinct metabolic pathways were enriched with 2-ClFALD modification, particularly pyruvate metabolism was enriched in epithelial cells and mitochondrial pyruvate respiration was reduced. Collectively, these studies demonstrate, for the first time, a novel plasmalogen molecular species distribution in airway epithelial cells that are targeted by myeloperoxidase-derived hypochlorous acid resulting in electrophilic 2-ClFALD, which potentially modifies epithelial physiology by modifying proteins.

Keywords: Chlorinated lipids; Myeloperoxidase; Protein modification; Proteomics.

MeSH terms

  • Aldehydes / metabolism
  • Animals
  • COVID-19* / metabolism
  • Endothelial Cells / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypochlorous Acid / metabolism
  • Mice
  • Neutrophils / metabolism
  • Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Plasmalogens* / chemistry
  • Plasmalogens* / metabolism
  • Proteins / metabolism
  • SARS-CoV-2 / metabolism


  • Plasmalogens
  • Peroxidase
  • Hypochlorous Acid
  • Proteins
  • Aldehydes