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Inorg Chem. 2011 Jan 3;50(1):72-85. doi: 10.1021/ic101212y. Epub 2010 Dec 8.

Zn(II) complexes of glutathione disulfide: structural basis of elevated stabilities.

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Laboratory of Protein Engineering, Faculty of Biotechnology, University of Wrocław, Tamka 2, 50-137 Wrocław, Poland.


Glutathione disulfide (GSSG), a long disregarded redox partner of glutathione (GSH), is thought to participate in intracellular zinc homeostasis. We performed a concerted potentiometric and NMR spectroscopic study of protonation and Zn(II) binding properties of GSSG ((γECG)(2)) and a series of its nine analogs with C-terminal modifications, tripeptide disulfides: (γECS)(2), (γECE)(2), (γECG-NH(2))(2), (γECG-OEt)(2), and (γEcG)(2); dipeptide disulfides, (γEC)(2) and (γEC-OEt)(2); and mixed disulfides, γECG-γEC and γECG-γEC-OEt. The acid-base and Zn(II) complexation properties in this group of compounds are strictly correlated to average C-terminal electrostatic charges. In particular, it was demonstrated that GSSG assumes a bent (head-to-tail) conformation in solution at neutral pH, which is controlled by electrostatic attraction between the protonated γ-amino groups of the Glu residue and the deprotonated C-terminal Gly carboxylates. This interaction modulates the ability of GSSG to coordinate Zn(II), both indirectly, by affecting the basicities of the amino groups, and directly, through the participation of the Gly carboxylates in the outer coordination sphere of the Zn(II) ion. A specific coiled structure of the major [Zn-GSSG](2-) complex is additionally stabilized by the formation of hydrogen bonds between glycinyl carboxylates and two Zn(II)-coordinated water molecules. The elevated stability of Zn(II)-GSSG complexes was demonstrated by competition with FluoZin-3, a fluorescent sensor with high Zn(II) affinity, commonly used in in vitro and in vivo studies. The potential biological functions and reactivity of GSSG complexes of Zn(II) ions are discussed.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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