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J Am Soc Mass Spectrom. 2007 Aug;18(8):1544-51. Epub 2007 May 24.

Characterization by tandem mass spectrometry of stable cysteine sulfenic acid in a cysteine switch peptide of matrix metalloproteinases.

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Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine and Department of Pharmacology, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York 10016, USA.


Cysteine sulfenic acid (Cys-SOH) is an elusive intermediate in reactive oxygen species-induced oxidation reactions of many proteins such as peroxiredoxins and tyrosine phosphatases. Cys-SOH is proposed to play a vital role in catalytic and signaling functions. The formation of cysteine sulfinic acid (Cys-SO(2)H) and cysteine sulfonic acid (Cys-SO(3)H) has been implicated in the activation of matrix metalloproteinase-7 (MMP-7) and oxidation of thiol to cysteine sulfinic acid has been associated with the autolytic cleavage of MMP-7. We have examined the formation of cysteine sulfenic acid in a synthetic peptide PRCGVPDVA, which is a cysteine switch domain of MMP-7 and other matrix metalloproteases. We have prepared the cysteine sulfenic acid containing peptide, PRC(SOH)GVPDVA, by reaction with hydroxyl radicals generated by the Fenton reaction (Fe(+2)/H(2)O(2)). We characterized this modified peptide by tandem mass spectrometry and accurate mass measurement experiments. In addition, we used 7-chloro-4-nitrobenzo-2-oxa-1,3-diazol (NBD-Cl) reagent to form an adduct with PRC(SOH)GVPDVA to provide additional evidence for the viability of PRC(SOH)GVPDVA in solution. We also characterized an intramolecular cysteine sulfinamide cross-link product PRC[S(O)N]GVPDVA based on tandem mass spectrometry and accurate mass measurement experiments. These results contribute to the understanding of a proteolytic cleavage mechanism that is traditionally associated with MMP activation.

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