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J Phys Chem B. 2007 Aug 16;111(32):9608-20. Epub 2007 Jul 21.

Stabilization of sulfide radical cations through complexation with the peptide bond: mechanisms relevant to oxidation of proteins containing multiple methionine residues.

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Institute of Nuclear Chemistry and Technology, 03-195 Warsaw, Poland.


The recent study on the *OH-induced oxidation of calmodulin, a regulatory "calcium sensor" protein containing nine methionine (Met) residues, has supported the first experimental evidence in a protein for the formation of S therefore N three-electron bonded radical complexes involving the sulfur atom of a methionine residue and the amide groups in adjacent peptide bonds. To characterize reactions of oxidized methionine residues in proteins containing multiple methionine residues in more detail, in the current study, a small model cyclic dipeptide, c-(L-Met-L-Met), was oxidized by *OH radicals generated via pulse radiolysis and the ensuing reactive intermediates were monitored by time-resolved UV-vis spectroscopic and conductometric techniques. The picture that emerges from this investigation shows there is an efficient formation of the Met (S therefore N) radicals, in spite of the close proximity of two sulfur atoms, located in the side chains of methionine residues, and in spite of the close proximity of sulfur atoms and oxygen atoms, located in the peptide bonds. Moreover, it is shown, for the first time, that the formation of Met(S therefore N) radicals can proceed directly, via H+-transfer, with the involvement of hydrogen from the peptide bond to an intermediary hydroxysulfuranyl radical. Ultimately, the Met(S therefore N) radicals decayed via two different pH-dependent reaction pathways, (i) conversion into sulfur-sulfur, intramolecular, three-electron-bonded radical cations and (ii) a proposed hydrolytic cleavage of the protonated form of the intramolecular, three-electron-bonded radicals [Met(S therefore N)/Met(S therefore NH)+] followed by electron transfer and decarboxylation. Surprisingly, also alpha-(alkylthio)alkyl radicals enter the latter mechanism in a pH-dependent manner. Density functional theory computations were performed on the model c-(L-Met-Gly) and its radicals in order to obtain optimizations and energies to aid in the interpretation of the experiments on c-(L-Met-L-Met).

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