Untargeted adductomics of Cys34 modifications to human serum albumin in newborn dried blood spots

Yukiko Yano, Hasmik Grigoryan, Courtney Schiffman, William Edmands, Lauren Petrick, Katie Hall, Todd Whitehead, Catherine Metayer, Sandrine Dudoit, Stephen Rappaport

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Metabolism of chemicals from the diet, exposures to xenobiotics, the microbiome, and lifestyle factors (e.g., smoking, alcohol intake) produce electrophiles that react with nucleophilic sites in circulating proteins, notably Cys34 of human serum albumin (HSA). To discover potential risk factors resulting from in utero exposures, we are investigating HSA-Cys34 adducts in archived newborn dried blood spots (DBS) that reflect systemic exposures during the last month of gestation. The workflow includes extraction of proteins from DBS, measurement of hemoglobin (Hb) to normalize for blood volume, addition of methanol to enrich HSA by precipitation of Hb and other interfering proteins, digestion with trypsin, and detection of HSA-Cys34 adducts via nanoflow liquid chromatography-high-resolution mass spectrometry. As proof-of-principle, we applied the method to 49 archived DBS collected from newborns whose mothers either actively smoked during pregnancy or were nonsmokers. Twenty-six HSA-Cys34 adducts were detected, including Cys34 oxidation products, mixed disulfides with low molecular weight thiols (e.g., cysteine, homocysteine, glutathione, cysteinylglycine), and other modifications. Data were normalized with a novel method (“scone”) to remove unwanted technical variation arising from HSA digestion, blood volume, DBS age, mass spectrometry analysis, and batch effects. Using an ensemble of linear and nonlinear models, the Cys34 adduct of cyanide was found to consistently discriminate between newborns of smoking and nonsmoking mothers with a mean fold change (smoking/nonsmoking) of 1.31. These results indicate that DBS adductomics is suitable for investigating in utero exposures to reactive chemicals and metabolites that may influence disease risks later in life.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2351-2362
Number of pages12
JournalAnalytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry
Issue number11
StatePublished - 19 Apr 2019


  • Adductomics
  • Dried blood spots
  • Human serum albumin
  • In utero exposures


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