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Application of redox proteomics to the study of oxidative degradation products in archaeological wool

journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-03, 11:37 authored by Caroline Solazzo, Stefan ClerensStefan Clerens, Jeff PlowmanJeff Plowman, Julie Wilson, Elizabeth Peacock, Jolon Dyer
Most archaeological and historical textiles (clothing, tapestries, blankets, carpets, etc.) present traces of UV-induced damage when exposed to light during their lifetime. Yellowing of the fibres, fading of the dyes and loss of physical properties, such as tensile strength are the typical indicators of photodegradation. Natural fibres made of proteins, such as wool and silk are particularly sensitive to UV damage. Photo-oxidative damage is caused by the accumulation of chemical modification at the amino acid residue level that lead to a range of oxidation products, including chromophores responsible for changes in coloration, as well as to the breaking of peptide bonds in the protein backbone. Amino acid residues with aromatic side-chain groups are particularly sensitive to photo-oxidation and breakthroughs have been made in recent years in the field of protein science to identify the photoproducts and locate them within proteins. This study explores new methodologies using redox proteomics-based strategies to assess the extent of photodamage in ancient wool textiles, by identifying modifications occurring at the molecular level. Using a scoring system to determine the level of oxidation in amino acids with aromatic side-chains (tryptophan, tyrosine, histidine and phenylalanine), we compare the effects of dyes and mordants on fibres after UV ageing, and assess the extent of oxidation on the different proteins composing the wool fibres. We determine that dyes and mordants have the capability of slowing down photo-oxidation during ageing. We also assess the effect of UV irradiation on deamidation, a modification targeting glutamine and asparagine, as it is a common marker of ageing in ancient proteins.


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© 2015 Elsevier Masson SAS. All rights reserved


  • English

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  • No


Elsevier Masson SAS

Journal title

Journal of Cultural Heritage




Solazzo, C., Clerens, S., Plowman, J. E., Wilson, J., Peacock, E. E., & Dyer, J. M. Application of redox proteomics to the study of oxidative degradation products in archaeological wool. Journal of Cultural Heritage, 16(6), 896-903. doi:10.1016/j.culher.2015.02.006


Caroline Solazzo

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