Histone carbonylation is a redox-regulated epigenomic mark that accumulates with obesity and aging

Amy K. Hauck, Tong Zhou, Ambuj Upadhyay, Yuxiang Sun, Michael B. O’connor, Yue Chen, David A. Bernlohr

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Oxidative stress is a hallmark of metabolic disease, though the mechanisms that define this link are not fully understood. Irreversible modification of proteins by reactive lipid aldehydes (protein carbonylation) is a major consequence of oxidative stress in adipose tissue and the substrates and specificity of this modification are largely unexplored. Here we show that histones are avidly modified by 4-hydroxynonenal (4-HNE) in vitro and in vivo. Carbonylation of histones by 4-HNE increased with age in male flies and visceral fat depots of mice and was potentiated in genetic (ob/ob) and high-fat feeding models of obesity. Proteomic evaluation of in vitro 4-HNE-modified histones led to the identification of both Michael and Schiff base adducts. In contrast, mapping of sites in vivo from obese mice exclusively revealed Michael adducts. In total, we identified 11 sites of 4-hydroxy hexenal (4-HHE) and 10 sites of 4-HNE histone modification in visceral adipose tissue. In summary, these results characterize adipose histone carbonylation as a redox-linked epigenomic mark associated with metabolic disease and aging.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1210
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding: This work was supported by National Institutes of Health Grant R01 DK084669, R01 AG069819 and the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station (to D.A.B.) and National Institutes of Health Grants T32 GM008347 to A.K.H. and R35 GM118029 to M.B.O.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • 4-HHE (4-hydroxy hexenal)
  • 4-HNE (4-hydroxynonenal)
  • Adipose
  • Aging
  • Carbonylation
  • Epigenomics
  • Histone

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article


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