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J Biol Chem. 2005 Oct 14;280(41):34569-76. Epub 2005 Aug 17.

Post-translational regulation of mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase via a low redox potential cysteine-sulfenate in the maintenance of redox homeostasis.

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Department of Environmental Medicine, Nippon Medical School, Tokyo 113-8602, Japan.


3-Mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase (MST) (EC, a multifunctional enzyme, catalyzes a transsulfuration from mercaptopyruvate to pyruvate in the degradation process of cysteine. A stoichiometric concentration of hydrogen peroxide and of tetrathionate (S(4)O(6)(2-)) inhibited rat MST (k(i) = 3.3 min(-1), K(i) = 120.5 microM and k(i) = 2.5 min(-1), K(i) = 178.6 microM, respectively). The activity was completely restored by dithiothreitol or thioredoxin with a reducing system containing thioredoxin reductase and NADPH, but glutathione did not restore the activity. On the other hand, an excess molar ratio dose of hydrogen peroxide inactivated MST. Oxidation with a stoichiometric concentration of hydrogen peroxide protected the enzyme against reaction by iodoacetate, which modifies a catalytic Cys(247), suggesting that Cys(247) is a target of the oxidants. A matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization-time-of-flight mass spectrometric analysis revealed that hydrogen peroxide- and tetrathionate-inhibited MSTs were increased in molecular mass consistent with the addition of atomic oxygen and with a thiosulfate (S(2)O(3)(-)), respectively. Treatment with dithiothreitol restored modified MST to the original mass. These findings suggested that there was no nearby cysteine with which to form a disulfide, and mild oxidation of MST resulted in formation of a sulfenate (SO(-)) at Cys(247), which exhibited exceptional stability and a lower redox potential than that of glutathione. Oxidative stress decreases MST activity so as to increase the amount of cysteine, a precursor of thioredoxin or glutathione, and furthermore, these cellular reductants restore the activity. Thus the redox state regulates MST activity at the enzymatic level, and on the other hand, MST controls redox to maintain cellular redox homeostasis.

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