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Curr Opin Chem Biol. 2008 Feb;12(1):18-24. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2008.01.021. Epub 2008 Mar 7.

Discovering mechanisms of signaling-mediated cysteine oxidation.

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Department of Biochemistry, Center for Structural Biology, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, NC 27157, United States.


Accumulating evidence reveals hydrogen peroxide as a key player both as a damaging agent and, from emerging evidence over the past decade, as a second messenger in intracellular signaling. This rather mild oxidant acts upon downstream targets within signaling cascades to modulate the activity of a host of enzymes (e.g. phosphatases and kinases) and transcriptional regulators through chemoselective oxidation of cysteine residues. With the recent development of specific detection reagents for hydrogen peroxide and new chemical tools to detect the generation of the initial oxidation product, sulfenic acid, on reactive cysteines within target proteins, the scene is set to gain a better understanding of the mechanisms through which hydrogen peroxide acts as a second messenger in cell signaling.

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