The analysis of glutamate and glutamine frequencies in human proteins as marker of tissue oxygenation

Annamaria Vernone, Chiara Ricca, Daniela Merlo, Gianpiero Pescarmona, Francesca Silvagno

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this study, we investigated whether the relative abundance of glutamate and glutamine in human proteins reflects the availability of these amino acids (AAs) dictated by the cellular context. In particular, because hypoxia increases the conversion of glutamate to glutamine, we hypothesized that the ratio glutamate/glutamine could be related to tissue oxygenation. By histological, biochemical and genetic evaluation, we identified proteins expressed selectively by distinct cellular populations that are exposed in the same tissue to high or low oxygenation, or proteins codified by different chromosomal loci. Our biochemical assessment was implemented by software tools that calculated the absolute and the relative frequencies of all AAs contained in the proteins. Moreover, an agglomerative hierarchical cluster analysis was performed. In the skin model that has a strictly local metabolism, we demonstrated that the ratio glutamate/glutamine of the selected proteins was directly proportional to oxygenation. Accordingly, the proteins codified by the epidermal differentiation complex in the region 1q21.3 and by the lipase clustering region 10q23.31 showed a significantly lower ratio glutamate/glutamine compared with the nearby regions of the same chromosome. Overall, our results demonstrate that the estimation of glutamate/glutamine ratio can give information on tissue oxygenation and could be exploited as marker of hypoxia, a condition common to several pathologies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181891
JournalRoyal Society Open Science
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019


Dive into the research topics of 'The analysis of glutamate and glutamine frequencies in human proteins as marker of tissue oxygenation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this