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Biochem Pharmacol. 1998 Apr 1;55(7):987-94.

Mechanisms of inhibition of the thioredoxin growth factor system by antitumor 2-imidazolyl disulfides.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Regina, SK, Canada.


The interactions of a series of 2-imidazolyl disulfide antitumor compounds with the thioredoxin reductase(TR)/thioredoxin (hTrx) redox system have been studied. Disulfides III-2 (n-butyl 2-mercaptoimidazolyl disulfide) and VI-2 (ethyl 2-mercaptoimidazolyl disulfide) were substrates for reduction by TR with Km values of 43 and 48 microM. Disulfides IV-2 (1-methylpropyl 2-mercaptoimidazolyl disulfide) and DLK-36 (benzyl 2-mercaptoimidazolyl disulfide) were competitive inhibitors of the reduction of hTrx by TR with Ki values of 31 microM. None of the disulfides were substrates for reduction by human glutathione reductase. The disulfides caused reversible thioalkylation of hTrx at the redox catalytic site as shown by the fact that there was no thioalkylation of a mutant hTrx where both the catalytic site Cys32 and Cys35 residues were replaced by Ser. In addition, the disulfides caused a slower irreversible inactivation of hTrx as a substrate for reduction by TR, with half-lives for III-2 of 30 min, for IV-2 of 4 hr, and for IX-2 (t-butyl 2-mercaptoimidazolyl disulfide) of 24 hr. This irreversible inactivation of hTrx occurred at concentrations of the disulfides an order of magnitude below those that inhibited TR, and involved the Cys73 of hTrx, which is outside the conserved redox catalytic site, as shown by the resistance to inactivation of a mutant hTrx where Cys73 was replaced by Ser. Electrophoretic and mass spectral analyses of the products of the reaction between the disulfides and hTrx show that modification of 1-3 Cys residues of the protein occurred in a concentration-dependent fashion. The disulfides inhibited the hTrx-dependent proliferation of MCF-7 breast cancer cells with IC50 values for III-2 and IV-2 of 0.2 and 1.2 microM, respectively. The results show that although the catalytic sites of TR and hTrx are reversibly inhibited by the 2-imidazolyl disulfides, it is the irreversible thioalkylation of Cys73 of hTrx by the disulfides that most probably accounts for the inhibition of thioredoxin-dependent cell growth by the disulfides.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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