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J Biomol Struct Dyn. 1998 Jun;15(6):1059-72.

Different types of interactions involving cysteine sulfhydryl group in proteins.

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Department of Biochemistry, Bose Institute, CIT Scheme VIIM, Calcutta, India.


Various types of interactions involving the sulfhydryl group of free cysteine residues have been analyzed using known protein structures. In a hydrogen bond the -SH group is more amenable to donating its proton to a carbonyl group, rather than acting as a proton acceptor. It rarely interacts with a carboxylate group, and is a poor ligand to bind an anionic substrate. It is quite prone to make contacts that are definitely non-hydrogen bond type. In the S...C=O interaction the S atom is placed on the face of an amide group (mostly from the main-chain, but there are cases from the side-chain also) close to the C atom. Cases of S...N interaction, where the S atom is on top of the N atom of another residue (both main-, as well as side-chains, including the guanidinium group) are also observed. A considerable number of Cys residues have aromatic residues as neighbors, and here too, the preferred mode of interaction is along the face. The intra-residue S...C=O interaction constrains the main-chain and side-chain torsion angles (psi and chi1), whereas the inter-residue interactions are non-local and stabilize the tertiary structure. The S...C=O interaction may have a role in lowering the pKa values of the Cys residues in enzyme active sites.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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