In vitro cross-linking of calf lens α-crystallin by malondialdehyde

T. Libondi, R. Ragone, D. Vincenti, P. Stiuso, G. Auricchio, G. Colonna

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effect of malondialdehyde on structural features of bovine a-crystallin has been investigated by absorption and fluorescence spectroscopy as well as by far-UV circular dichroism. Experimental evidence suggests the occurrence of intermolecular cross-linking induced by malondialdehyde. This cross-linking does not seem to affect the tryptophan environment, as suggested by intrinsic protein fluorescence. On the contrary, the time dependence of far-UV dichroic activity indicates that the cross-linking is accompanied by a secondary structure change. The formation of high molecular mass aggregates, evidenced by electrophoresis in denaturing conditions, leads to irreversible α-crystallin aggregation due to extensive intermolecular cross-linking. Since malondialdehyde is produced in vivo as a breakdown product of lipid peroxidation, the possible involvement of this molecule in the pathological mechanism of cataract formation has been briefly discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)342-347
Number of pages6
JournalInternational Journal of Peptide and Protein Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1994


  • α-crystallin cross-linking
  • Cataract
  • Eye lens
  • Lipid peroxidation
  • Malondialdehyde

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry


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