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Open Access Identification of Endocrine-Disrupting Compounds Using Nanoelectrospray Ionization Mass Spectrometry

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A method using chip-based nanoelectrospray mass spectrometry (nanoESI-MS) is described to detect noncovalent ligand binding to the human estrogen receptor alpha ligand-binding domain (hERα LBD). This system represents an important environmental interest, because a wide variety of molecules, known as endocrine-disrupting compounds (EDCs), can bind to the estrogen receptor (ER) and induce adverse health effects in wildlife and humans. An efficient analytical method is therefore required to identify EDCs and characterize their solution-phase binding affinity and character (i.e. agonist or antagonist). Using proper experimental conditions, the nanoESI-MS approach allowed the detection of specific ligand interactions with hERα LBD. The best approach to evaluate solution-binding affinity by nanoESI-MS was to perform competitive binding experiments with 17β-estradiol (E2) as a reference ligand. Among the ligands tested, the relative binding affinity for hERα LBD measured by nanoESI-MS was 4-hydroxytamoxifen ≈ diethylstilbestrol > E2 ≫ genistein ≫ bisphenol A, consistent with the order of the binding affinities in solution. To discern agonist from antagonist, we used the specificity of a coactivator peptide for agonist-bound receptor. A specific coactivator-hERα LBD complex was detected only in the presence of an agonist ligand. Therefore, the specificity of nanoESI-MS combined with its speed (1 min/ligand), low sample consumption (90 pmol protein/ligand), and its sensitivity for ligand (30 ng/ml) demonstrates that this method is promising for the identification and characterization of suspected ER ligands in a high-throughput manner.

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Keywords: ELECTROSPRAY IONIZATION MASS SPECTROMETRY; ENDOCHRINE-DISRUPTING COMPOUNDS; ESTROGEN RECEPTOR; NONCOVALENT; SOLUTION-BINDING AFFINITY

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2008

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  • International Journal for Chemistry and Official Membership Journal of the Swiss Chemical Society (SCS) and its Divisions

    CHIMIA, a scientific journal for chemistry in the broadest sense, is published 10 times a year and covers the interests of a wide and diverse readership. Contributions from all fields of chemistry and related areas are considered for publication in the form of Review Articles and Notes. A characteristic feature of CHIMIA are the thematic issues, each devoted to an area of great current significance.

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