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Electrophoresis. 2003 Sep;24(18):3212-8.

Formation of S-[2-carboxy-1-(1H-imidazol-4-yl) ethyl]glutathione, a new metabolite of L-histidine, from cis-urocanic acid and glutathione by the action of glutathione S-transferase.

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Department of Neuroscience, Okayama University, Graduate School of Medicine, and Dentistry, Okayama, Japan.


Exposure of the skin to sunlight results in an increase of the content of epidermal trans-urocanic acid, a key metabolite of L-histidine, and also in occurrence of the isomerization of trans-urocanic acid to the cis isomer. S-[2-Carboxy-1-(1H-imidazol-4-yl)ethyl]glutathione (GS(CIE)), an adduct of urocanic acid and glutathione, is a presumed origin of a urinary compound S-[2-carboxy-1-(1H-imidazol-4-yl)ethyl]-L-cysteine (Cys(CIE)). The formation of GS(CIE) is stimulated by exposing the skin to sunlight irradiation. In this study we investigated an enzymatic formation of GS(CIE) from glutathione and cis-urocanic acid by incubation with rat liver extract that contained glutathione S-transferase (GST) at high activity. The formation of GS(CIE) was suppressed significantly when a liver extract depleted of GST activity was used. Enzymatic degradation of GS(CIE) with gamma -glutamyl transpeptidase resulted in the formation of N-[S-[2-carboxy-1-(1H-imidazol-4-yl)ethyl]-L-cysteinyl]glycine, a metabolic intermediate between the glutathione adduct and Cys(CIE). A hydrolyzed product of GS(CIE) by HCl was identical with the urinary Cys(CIE). Compounds were analyzed by high-voltage paper electrophoresis, capillary electrophoresis, and fast atom bombardment mass spectrometry. From these results, we suggest that GS(CIE) formed from cis-urocanic acid and glutathione is an origin of the urinary compound Cys(CIE) and that the formation reaction is catalyzed mostly by the action of GST.

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