Year of Publication


Document Type



Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Bert C. Lynn


Pesticides including organophosphates (OPs) and carbamates (CBs) are widelyused to control undesirable pests. These compounds are neurotoxic and inhibithydrolysis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine by acetylcholinesterase. Public healthconcerns have increased with the escalating usage of pesticides. Reliable monitoringprograms are required to detect and quantify pesticide exposure, as well as to promotean understanding of their neurotoxic properties. In this dissertation, both theanticholinergic (Part I) toxicity and neurotoxicity in neuroblastoma cells (Part II) ofpesticides were explored using mass spectrometry (MS). The high sensitivity andhigh-throughput of this technique renders it well-suited for proteomics analysis.Part I describes the study of butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) inhibition resultingfrom OP and CB exposure. The main hypothesis of Part I is that the specialmodification of BChE can provide the origin and extent of pesticide exposure. A novelmethod for detection and quantification of pesticide exposure was designed using aproteomics approach and equine BChE (eBChE) as a model system. The methodologyfeatured detection and analysis of phosphorylated or carbamylated peptides at theactive site serine residue. The developed technique was successfully applied towardsthe study of human BChE (hBChE) inhibition in vitro and in serum samples. Aspecially designed affinity column enabled an isolation of BChE from serum. EnrichedBChE was subjected to enzymatic digestion by a novel on-bead double digestionprotocol. LC/MS/MS was employed to produce a calibration system for the analysis ofhBChE inhibition, which was then applied towards quantification of the enzyme.Part II describes a proteomic study of the neurotoxicity in neuroblastoma cellscaused from chlorpyrifos (CPF), an organophosphate pesticide. The concerns of CPFexposure to pregnant women, infants and children are increasing due todevelopmentally neurotoxic effects of this chemical. The main hypothesis of Part II isthat CPF can cause protein alterations and these altered proteins can be detected usingproteomics. Systematic studies at subcellular levels evaluated proteome changes inSH-SY5Y cells exposed to CPF. Two-dimensional gel electrophoresis (2DE) wasapplied with MALDI-TOF-MS to analyze differential protein expression. Thirty sevencommon unique altered proteins were identified, which play important roles inmetabolic pathway.