Acute exposure to ultraviolet radiation targets proteins involved in collagen fibrillogenesis

Front Physiol. 2024 Mar 15:15:1352161. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2024.1352161. eCollection 2024.


Introduction: Exposure to chronic, low-dose UV irradiation (UVR) can lead to premature ageing of the skin. Understanding which proteins are affected by acute UVR and photo-dynamically produced reactive oxygen species (ROS) could help to inform strategies to delay photoageing. Conventional biochemical analyses can be used to characterize UVR/ROS-induced damage on a protein-by-protein basis and we have previously shown using SDS-PAGE that collagen I and plasma fibronectin are respectively resistant and susceptible to physiological doses of UVR. The aim of this study was to screen a complex proteome for UVR-affected proteins. Methods: This study employed a sensitive mass spectrometry technique (peptide location fingerprinting: PLF) which can identify structure associated differences following trypsin digestion to characterize the impact of UVR exposure on purified collagen I and tissue fibronectin and to identify UVR-susceptible proteins in an ECM-enriched proteome. Results: Using LC/MS-MS and PLF we show that purified mature type-I collagen is resistant to UVR, whereas purified tissue fibronectin is susceptible. UV irradiation of a human dermal fibroblast-deposited ECM-enriched proteome in vitro, followed by LC/MS-MS and PLF analysis revealed two protein cluster groups of UV susceptible proteins involved in i) matrix collagen fibril assembly and ii) protein translation and motor activity. Furthermore, PLF highlighted UV susceptible domains within targeted matrix proteins, suggesting that UV damage of matrix proteins is localized. Discussion: Here we show that PLF can be used to identify protein targets of UVR and that collagen accessory proteins may be key targets in UVR exposed tissues.

Keywords: collagen fibrillogenesis; extracellular matrix; mass spectrometry; post-translational modification; skin; ultraviolet.

Grants and funding

The author(s) declare financial support was received for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article. This study was funded by a Walgreens Boots Alliance program grant to MS.