Free radical co-oxidation of polyunsaturated lipids with tyrosine or phenolic analogues of tyrosine gave rise to lipid peroxide-tyrosine (phenol) adducts in both aqueous micellar and organic solutions. The novel adducts were isolated and characterized by 1D and 2D NMR spectroscopy as well as by mass spectrometry (MS). The spectral data suggest that the polyunsaturated lipid peroxyl radicals give stable peroxide coupling products exclusively at the para position of the tyrosyl (phenoxy) radicals. These adducts have characteristic (13)C chemical shifts at 185 ppm due to the cross-conjugated carbonyl of the phenol-derived cyclohexadienone. The primary peroxide adducts subsequently undergo intramolecular Diels-Alder (IMDA) cyclization, affording a number of diastereomeric tricyclic adducts that have characteristic carbonyl (13)C chemical shifts at ~198 ppm. All of the NMR HMBC and HSQC correlations support the structure assignments of the primary and Diels-Alder adducts, as does MS collision-induced dissociation data. Kinetic rate constants and activation parameters for the IMDA reaction were determined, and the primary adducts were reduced with cuprous ion to give a phenol-derived 4-hydroxycyclohexa-2,5-dienone. No products from adduction of peroxyls at the phenolic ortho position were found in either the primary or cuprous reduction product mixtures. These studies provide a framework for understanding the nature of lipid-protein adducts formed by peroxyl-tyrosyl radical-radical termination processes. Coupling of lipid peroxyl radicals with tyrosyl radicals leads to cyclohexenone and cyclohexadienone adducts, which are of interest in and of themselves since, as electrophiles, they are likely targets for protein nucleophiles. One consequence of lipid peroxyl reactions with tyrosyls may therefore be protein-protein cross-links via interprotein Michael adducts.