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Mol Cell Biochem. 2007 Oct;304(1-2):207-12. Epub 2007 Jun 22.

The functional role of cysteine residues for c-Abl kinase activity.

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Department of Chemistry, John Carroll University, 20700 North Park Boulevard, University Heights, OH 44118, USA.


S-glutathionylation, the formation of mixed disulfides of glutathione with cysteine residues of proteins, is a broadly observed physiological modification that occurs in response to oxidative stress. Since cysteine residues are particularly susceptible to oxidative modification by reactive oxygen species, S-glutathionylation can protect proteins from irreversible oxidation. In this study, we show that the kinase activity of the non-receptor tyrosine kinase c-Abl is inhibited by in vitro thiol modification; specifically, the cysteine residues of c-Abl are modified by S-glutathionylation and by thiol alkylating agents such as 4-acetamido-4'-maleimidylstilbene-2,2'-disulfonic acid and N-ethylmaleimide. Modification of cysteine residues of c-Abl tyrosine kinase using glutathione disulfide and thiol alkylating agents corresponds to a concomitant loss of kinase activity. We also demonstrate that S-glutathionylation of c-Abl can be reversed using a physiological system involving glutaredoxin and this reversal restores c-Abl kinase activity. To our knowledge, these are the first data to show S-glutathionylation of c-Abl, and this modification may represent a mechanism of regulation of c-Abl kinase activity in cells under oxidative stress.

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