New insights into the mechanisms of age-related protein-protein crosslinking in the human lens

Publication Name

Experimental Eye Research


Although protein crosslinking is often linked with aging as well as some age-related diseases, very few molecular details are available on the nature of the amino acids involved, or mechanisms that are responsible for crosslinking. Recent research has shown that several amino acids are able to generate reactive intermediates that ultimately lead to covalent crosslinking through multiple non-enzymatic mechanisms. This information has been derived from proteomic investigations on aged human lenses and the mechanisms of crosslinking, in each case, have been elucidated using model peptides. Residues involved in spontaneous protein-protein crosslinking include aspartic acid, asparagine, cysteine, lysine, phosphoserine, phosphothreonine, glutamic acid and glutamine. It has become clear, therefore, that several amino acids can act as potential sites for crosslinking in the long-lived proteins that are present in aged individuals. Moreover, the lens has been an invaluable model tissue and source of crosslinked proteins from which to determine crosslinking mechanisms that may lead to crosslinking in other human tissues.

Open Access Status

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Article Number


Funding Sponsor

Vanderbilt University



Link to publisher version (DOI)