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Mol Vis. 2010 Jun 5;16:1025-33.

Cysteinyl-glycine in the control of glutathione homeostasis in bovine lenses.

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Department of Biology, Biochemistry Unit, University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy.



To define a possible metabolic and/or signaling role for Cys-Gly in glutathione homeostasis in bovine eye lenses.


Bovine lenses were cultured up to 24 h in a medium containing 0.5 mM reduced glutathione (GSH) under different conditions. The intracellular and the extracellular contents of thiol compounds were evaluated using a free zone capillary electrophoresis method.


Culture of lenses in the presence of GSH and the gamma-glutamyl transferase inhibitor serine-borate demonstrated a 1.5 fold increase in the level of extra-lenticular glutathione with respect to the initial value. Cys-Gly exogenously added impaired the extra-lenticular accumulation of glutathione. Both cysteine and gamma-Glu-Cys were ineffective in reducing extra-lenticular glutathione accumulation. In all conditions no differences in reduced and total intra-lenticular glutathione levels were observed.


The impairment of Cys-Gly generation correlated with inhibition of gamma-glutamyl transferase by serine/borate, resulting in high extra-lenticular concentration of glutathione effluxed from the bovine lens. The possibility that Cys-Gly may intervene either in the replenishment processes for cysteine in the GSH biosynthetic step or in the function of the efflux GSH-transporters is considered.

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