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Acc Chem Res. 2010 Nov 16;43(11):1408-19. doi: 10.1021/ar100059g. Epub 2010 Aug 6.

Functional mimics of glutathione peroxidase: bioinspired synthetic antioxidants.

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Department of Inorganic and Physical Chemistry, Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore 560012, India.


Oxidative stress is caused by an imbalance between the production of reactive oxygen species (ROS) and the biological system's ability to detoxify these reactive intermediates. Mammalian cells have elaborate antioxidant defense mechanisms to control the damaging effects of ROS. Glutathione peroxidase (GPx), a selenoenzyme, plays a key role in protecting the organism from oxidative damage by catalyzing the reduction of harmful hydroperoxides with thiol cofactors. The selenocysteine residue at the active site forms a "catalytic triad" with tryptophan and glutamine, which activates the selenium moiety for an efficient reduction of peroxides. After the discovery that ebselen, a synthetic organoselenium compound, mimics the catalytic activity of GPx both in vitro and in vivo, several research groups developed a number of small-molecule selenium compounds as functional mimics of GPx, either by modifying the basic structure of ebselen or by incorporating some structural features of the native enzyme. The synthetic mimics reported in the literature can be classified in three major categories: (i) cyclic selenenyl amides having a Se-N bond, (ii) diaryl diselenides, and (iii) aromatic or aliphatic monoselenides. Recent studies show that ebselen exhibits very poor GPx activity when aryl or benzylic thiols such as PhSH or BnSH are used as cosubstrates. Because the catalytic activity of each GPx mimic largely depends on the thiol cosubstrates used, the difference in the thiols causes the discrepancies observed in different studies. In this Account, we demonstrate the effect of amide and amine substituents on the GPx activity of various organoselenium compounds. The existence of strong Se···O/N interactions in the selenenyl sulfide intermediates significantly reduces the GPx activity. These interactions facilitate an attack of thiol at selenium rather than at sulfur, leading to thiol exchange reactions that hamper the formation of catalytically active selenol. Therefore, any substituent capable of enhancing the nucleophilic attack of thiol at sulfur in the selenenyl sulfide state would enhance the antioxidant potency of organoselenium compounds. Interestingly, replacement of the sec-amide substituent by a tert-amide group leads to a weakening of Se···O interactions in the selenenyl sulfide intermediates. This modification results in 10- to 20-fold enhancements in the catalytic activities. Another strategy involving the replacement of tert-amide moieties by tert-amino substituents further increases the activity by 3- to 4-fold. The most effective modification so far in benzylamine-based GPx mimics appears to be either the replacement of a tert-amino substituent by a sec-amino group or the introduction of an additional 6-methoxy group in the phenyl ring. These strategies can contribute to a remarkable enhancement in the GPx activity. In addition to enhancing catalytic activity, a change in the substituents near the selenium moiety alters the catalytic mechanisms. The mechanistic investigations of functional mimics are useful not only for understanding the complex chemistry at the active site of GPx but also for designing and synthesizing novel antioxidants and anti-inflammatory agents.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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