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J Biol Chem. 2019 Jul 12;294(28):11011-11022. doi: 10.1074/jbc.RA119.009047. Epub 2019 Jun 3.

S-3-Carboxypropyl-l-cysteine specifically inhibits cystathionine γ-lyase-dependent hydrogen sulfide synthesis.

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From the Department of Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 and.
the Department of Medicinal Chemistry, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109.
From the Department of Biological Chemistry, University of Michigan Medical School, Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109 and


Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) is a gaseous signaling molecule, which modulates a wide range of mammalian physiological processes. Cystathionine γ-lyase (CSE) catalyzes H2S synthesis and is a potential target for modulating H2S levels under pathophysiological conditions. CSE is inhibited by propargylglycine (PPG), a widely used mechanism-based inhibitor. In this study, we report that inhibition of H2S synthesis from cysteine, but not the canonical cystathionine cleavage reaction catalyzed by CSE in vitro, is sensitive to preincubation of the enzyme with PPG. In contrast, the efficacy of S-3-carboxpropyl-l-cysteine (CPC) a new inhibitor described herein, was not dependent on the order of substrate/inhibitor addition. We observed that CPC inhibited the γ-elimination reaction of cystathionine and H2S synthesis from cysteine by human CSE with Ki values of 50 ± 3 and 180 ± 15 μm, respectively. We noted that CPC spared the other enzymes involved either directly (cystathionine β-synthase and mercaptopyruvate sulfurtransferase) or indirectly (cysteine aminotransferase) in H2S biogenesis. CPC also targeted CSE in cultured cells, inhibiting transsulfuration flux by 80-90%, as monitored by the transfer of radiolabel from [35S]methionine to GSH. The 2.5 Å resolution crystal structure of human CSE in complex with the CPC-derived aminoacrylate intermediate provided a structural framework for the molecular basis of its inhibitory effect. In summary, our study reveals a previously unknown confounding effect of PPG, widely used to inhibit CSE-dependent H2S synthesis, and reports on an alternative inhibitor, CPC, which could be used as a scaffold to develop more potent H2S biogenesis inhibitors.


PLP enzyme; chemical screen; crystal structure; cystathionine gamma-lyase; cysteine catabolism; enzyme inhibitor; enzyme kinetics; hydrogen sulfide; propargylglycine; pyridoxal phosphate; transsulfuration pathway


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