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J Biol Chem. 2000 Nov 17;275(46):35908-13.

A sulfenic acid enzyme intermediate is involved in the catalytic mechanism of peptide methionine sulfoxide reductase from Escherichia coli.

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  • 1UMR CNRS-UHP 7567, Maturation des ARN et Enzymologie MolĂ©culaire, FacultĂ© des Sciences, Bld des Aiguillettes, BP 239, 54506 Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy, France.


Methionine oxidation into methionine sulfoxide is known to be involved in many pathologies and to exert regulatory effects on proteins. This oxidation can be reversed by a ubiquitous monomeric enzyme, the peptide methionine sulfoxide reductase (MsrA), whose activity in vivo requires the thioredoxin-regenerating system. The proposed chemical mechanism of Escherichia coli MsrA involves three Cys residues (positions 51, 198, and 206). A fourth Cys (position 86) is not important for catalysis. In the absence of a reducing system, 2 mol of methionine are formed per mole of enzyme for wild type and Cys-86 --> Ser mutant MsrA, whereas only 1 mol is formed for mutants in which either Cys-198 or Cys-206 is mutated. Reduction of methionine sulfoxide is shown to proceed through the formation of a sulfenic acid intermediate. This intermediate has been characterized by chemical probes and mass spectrometry analyses. Together, the results support a three-step chemical mechanism in vivo: 1) Cys-51 attacks the sulfur atom of the sulfoxide substrate leading, via a rearrangement, to the formation of a sulfenic acid intermediate on Cys-51 and release of 1 mol of methionine/mol of enzyme; 2) the sulfenic acid is then reduced via a double displacement mechanism involving formation of a disulfide bond between Cys-51 and Cys-198, followed by formation of a disulfide bond between Cys-198 and Cys-206, which liberates Cys-51, and 3) the disulfide bond between Cys-198 and Cys-206 is reduced by thioredoxin-dependent recycling system process.

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