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Concept: Thiol


Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a neurological disorder in which a significant number of the children experience a developmental regression characterized by a loss of previously acquired skills and abilities. Typically reported are losses of verbal, nonverbal, and social abilities. Several recent studies suggest that children diagnosed with an ASD have abnormal sulfation chemistry, limited thiol availability, and decreased glutathione (GSH) reserve capacity, resulting in a compromised oxidation/reduction (redox) and detoxification capacity. Research indicates that the availability of thiols, particularly GSH, can influence the effects of thimerosal ™ and other mercury (Hg) compounds. TM is an organomercurial compound (49.55% Hg by weight) that has been, and continues to be, used as a preservative in many childhood vaccines, particularly in developing countries. Thiol-modulating mechanisms affecting the cytotoxicity of TM have been identified. Importantly, the emergence of ASD symptoms post-6 months of age temporally follows the administration of many childhood vaccines. The purpose of the present critical review is provide mechanistic insight regarding how limited thiol availability, abnormal sulfation chemistry, and decreased GSH reserve capacity in children with an ASD could make them more susceptible to the toxic effects of TM routinely administered as part of mandated childhood immunization schedules.

Concepts: Autism, Disulfide bond, Glutathione, Asperger syndrome, Autism spectrum, Cysteine, Thiol, Thiols


In this work we investigated the formation, reactivity and anti-platelet activity of various mixed disulfide conjugates of clopidogrel. Our results showed that the production of the active metabolite (AM) from 2-oxoclopidogrel by human liver microsomes (HLMs) is greatly affected by the thiol reductants used. Among the ten thiol compounds tested, glutathione (GSH) is most efficient in producing the AM at a rate of 167 pmoles AM/min/mg HLM. Interestingly, no AM but only the mixed disulfide conjugates were formed in the presence of 6-chloropyridazine-3-thiol (CPT), 2,5-dimethylfuran-3-thiol (DFT), and 3-nitropyridine-2-thiol (NPT). The MS and MS2 spectra of the conjugates of these thiol compounds confirmed the presence of a mixed disulfide bond linkage between the AM and the thiol reductants. Kinetic studies revealed that the mixed disulfide conjugates were capable of exchanging thiols with GSH to release the AM with second order rate constants ranging from 1.2 to 28 M(-1)s(-1). The mixed disulfide conjugates of CPT and NPT showed potent inhibition of platelet aggregation after pre-treatment with 1 mM GSH, confirming that the AM is responsible for the anti-platelet activity of clopidogrel. Collectively, our results provide strong support for a P450-mediated bioactivation mechanism involving the initial formation of a glutathionyl conjugate followed by thiol-disulfide exchange with another GSH molecule to release the AM. Furthermore, the stable mixed disulfide conjugates identified in this study provide a platform to quantitatively generate the therapeutic AM without the need for P450-mediated bioactivation. This property can be further explored in order to overcome the inter-individual variability in clopidogrel therapy.

Concepts: Platelet, Disulfide bond, Glutathione, Sulfur, Cysteine, Thiol, Dithiothreitol, Thiol-disulfide exchange


One important change the head of boar spermatozoa during freeze-thawing is the destabilisation of its nucleoprotein structure due to a disruption of disulfide bonds. With the aim of better understanding these changes in frozen-thawed spermatozoa, two agents, namely reduced glutathione (GSH) and procaine hydrochloride (ProHCl), were added at different concentrations to the freezing media at different concentrations and combinations over the range 1-2mM. Then, 30 and 240min after thawing, cysteine-free residue levels of boar sperm nucleoproteins, DNA fragmentation and other sperm functional parameters were evaluated. Both GSH and ProHCl, at final concentrations of 2mM, induced a significant (P<0.05) increase in the number of non-disrupted sperm head disulfide bonds 30 and 240min after thawing compared with the frozen-thawed control. This effect was accompanied by a significant (P<0.05) decrease in DNA fragmentation 240min after thawing. Concomitantly, 1 and 2mM GSH, but not ProHCl at any of the concentrations tested, partially counteracted the detrimental effects caused by freeze-thawing on sperm peroxide levels, motility patterns and plasma membrane integrity. In conclusion, the results show that both GSH and ProHCl have a stabilising effect on the nucleoprotein structure of frozen-thawed spermatozoa, although only GSH exerts an appreciable effect on sperm viability.

Concepts: Sperm, Spermatozoon, Disulfide bond, Glutathione, Cysteine, Thiol


Well-aligned CdS nanorod arrays (CdS NRs) with ∼100nm in diameter and ∼700nm in length were fabricated on FTO (fluorine-doped tin oxide) substrate by using glutathione as capping agents. The growth of CdS NRs was studied in details by exploring the roles of each active binding group in glutathione. The thiol group in glutathione plays an important role in forming a compact CdS nanocrystal film, upon which the nanorods grow subsequently via the synergetic effect of thiol and dicarboxyl groups in glutathione. The influence of surface passivation with glutathione on the photoelectrical property of CdS NRs was also tested. The results revealed that glutathione ligands encapsulated in the surfaces of CdS NRs act as insulating barriers between CdS NRs and solution, hindering charge transport. Hybrid photovoltaic cells of FTO/CdS NRs/P3HT (poly(3-hexylthiophene))/Au were then assembled. The performance of the photovoltaic devices was increased with increasing the length of the as-prepared CdS nanorods and further enhanced to the highest efficiency of 0.373% after the thermal sulfuration treatment.

Concepts: Zinc, Disulfide bond, Sulfur, Cadmium, Photovoltaics, Cysteine, Thiol, Cadmium sulfide


Abstract 1. Chalcones are structural analogues of benzalacetophenone (BAP). Several derivatives have been identified in plants and anticarcinogenic and anti-inflammatory properties were attributed to the compounds, probably related to their direct antioxidant activity or stimulatory effects on the expression of endogenous defence enzymes like hemeoxygenase-1 (HO-1). HO-1 expression is triggered by the Nrf2-Keap1 signalling pathway, initiated by the addition of chalcones to thiol groups of Keap1 via Michael-type reaction. 2. The present study used a model system estimating the reactivity of different synthetic chalcones and other α,β-unsaturated carbonyl compounds with thiols and compared the chemical reactivity with the biological activity, measured by HO-1 expression in human dermal fibroblasts. 3. Chemical reactivity with the thiol group of N-acetylcysteine was determined with 5,5'-dithiobis-(2-nitrobenzoic acid) and followed chemical principles of structure-reactivity relationship. Most reactive were sulforaphane, dimethylfumarate, chalcone 3 ((2E)-1-phenyl-3-pyrimidin-2-ylprop-2-en-1-one) and chalcone 7 (1,3-diphenylprop-2-yn-1-one). This result demonstrates that α,β-unsaturated carbonyl derivatives react with thiols differently. All compounds were also biologically active; however, expression of HO-1 was not only related to the chemical reactivity but also to the lipophilicity of the molecules which likely affected transmembrane uptake. Most efficient inducers of HO-1 expression were BAP, 4-hydroxynonenal and chalcone 1 (4-[(1E)-3-oxo-3-phenylprop-1-en-1-yl]benzonitrile), chalcone 5 ((2E)-1-phenyl-3-[4-(trifluoromethyl)-phenyl]prop-2-en-1-one) and chalcone 7.

Concepts: Organism, Chemical reaction, Glutathione, Cysteine, Thiol, Thioester


Biothiols, such as cysteine (Cys) and homocysteine (Hcy), play very crucial roles in biological systems. Abnormal levels of these biothiols are often associated with many types of diseases. Therefore, the detection of Cys (or Hcy) is of great importance. In this work, we have synthesized an excellent “OFF-ON” phosphorescent chemodosimeter 1 for sensing Cys and Hcy with high selectivity and naked-eye detection based on an Ir(III) complex containing a 2,4-dinitrobenzenesulfonyl (DNBS) group within its ligand. The “OFF-ON” phosphorescent response can be assigned to the electron-transfer process from Ir(III) center and C^N ligands to the DNBS group as the strong electron-acceptor, which can quench the phosphorescence of probe 1 completely. The DNBS group can be cleaved by thiols of Cys or Hcy, and both the (3) MLCT and (3) LC states are responsible for the excited-state properties of the reaction product of probe 1 and Cys (or Hcy). Thus, the phosphorescence is switched on. Based on these results, a general principle for designing “OFF-ON” phosphorescent chemodosimeters based on heavy-metal complexes has been provided. Importantly, utilizing the long emission-lifetime of phosphorescence signal, the time-resolved luminescent assay of 1 in sensing Cys was realized successfully, which can eliminate the interference from the short-lived background fluorescence and improve the signal-to-noise ratio. As far as we know, this is the first report about the time-resolved luminescent detection of biothiols. Finally, probe 1 has been used successfully for bioimaging the changes of Cys/Hcy concentration in living cells.

Concepts: Amino acid, Disulfide bond, Luminescence, Cysteine, Phosphorescence, Thiol, Methionine, Photoluminescence


The bonding characteristics in cysteine-gold cluster complexes represented by thiolate (Au(n)·Cys(S) (n = 1, 3, 5, 7)) and thiol (Au(n)·Cys(SH) (n = 2, 4, 6, 8)) is investigated by density functional theory with 6-31G(d,p) and Lanl2DZ hybrid basis sets. The complexes exhibit very different bonding characteristic between these two forms. In the Au(n)·Cys(S) complexes, the charge transfers from gold clusters to sulfur atoms. The number of S-Au bonds in the Au(n)·Cys(S) complexes evolves from one to two when n is greater than three. For n equals three, i.e. Au(3)·Cys(S), its ground state only has one S-Au bond. While the only S-Au bond in Au(1)·Cys(S) is mainly covalent, the nature of the S-Au bond in other thiolates is featured with the combination of covalent and donor-acceptor interactions. In particular, one stable isomer of Au(3)·Cys(S) with two S-Au bonds, which is 2 kcal mol(-1) higher in energy than the corresponding ground state, consists of one covalent and one donor-acceptor S-Au bond explicitly. Moreover, the localized three center two electron bonds are formed within the Au clusters, which facilitates the formation of the two S-Au bonds in Au(5)·Cys(S) and Au(7)·Cys(S) complexes. In the Au(n)·Cys(SH) complexes, the donor-acceptor interaction prevails in the Au-SH bond by transferring lone pair electrons from the sulfur atom to the adjacent gold atom. Interestingly, the orbital with much more 6s-component in Au(4)·Cys(SH) enhances the donor-acceptor bonding character, thus yields the strongest bonding among all the Au(n)·Cys(SH) complexes studied in this paper. In general, the bonding strength between gold clusters and cysteine is positively correlated with the S-Au overlap-weighted bond order, but negatively correlated with the S-Au bond length. Lastly, the covalent and donor-acceptor S-Au bond strength is computed to be 48 and 18 kcal mol(-1), respectively.

Concepts: Electron, Atom, Chemical bond, Disulfide bond, Quantum chemistry, Bond order, Thiol, Bond length


The activity of the photosynthetic carbon-fixing enzyme, ribulose 1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco), is partially inhibited by arsenite in the millimolar concentration range. However, micromolar arsenite can fully inhibit Rubisco in the presence of a potentiating monothiol such as cysteine, cysteamine, 2-mercaptoethanol or N-acetylcysteine, but not glutathione. Arsenite reacts specifically with the vicinal Cys172-Cys192 from the large subunit of Rubisco and with the monothiol to establish a ternary complex which is suggested to be a trithioarsenical. The stability of the complex is strongly dependent on the nature of the monothiol. Enzyme activity is fully recovered through the disassembly of the complex after eliminating arsenite and/or the thiol from the medium. The synergic combination of arsenite and a monothiol acts also in vivo stopping carbon dioxide fixation in illuminated cultures of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Again, this effect may be reverted by washing the cells. However, in vivo inhibition does not result from the blocking of Rubisco since mutant strains carrying Rubiscos with Cys172 and/or Cys192 substitutions (which are insensitive to arsenite in vitro) are also arrested. This suggests the existence of a specific sensor controlling carbon fixation that is even more sensitive than Rubisco to the arsenite-thiol synergism.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Oxygen, Carbon dioxide, Enzyme inhibitor, Glutathione, Calvin cycle, Thiol, Carbon fixation


BACKGROUND: Snake bites are an important cause of mortality and morbidity worldwide, especially in rural areas. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study was to investigate serum paraoxonase (PON), arylesterase (ARLY), ceruloplasmin (Cp), and myeloperoxidase (MPO) activity and lipid hydroperoxide (LOOH) and total sulfhydryl group (-SH) levels in patients with snake venom poisoning. METHODS: The study included 49 patients with snake bite envenomation (Group 1) and 39 healthy volunteers as the control group (Group 2). Plasma PON, ARLY, Cp, and MPO activity and LOOH and -SH levels were measured. Laboratory measurements of 20 patients with snake bite envenomation (Group 3) were performed again after treatment. RESULTS: PON and ARLY activity and -SH levels were significantly decreased in Group 1 compared with those in Group 2. Cp and MPO activity and LOOH levels were significantly elevated in Group 1 compared with those in Group 2. PON and ARLY activity were significantly elevated in Group 3 compared with those in Group 1. Cp and MPO activity and LOOH levels were significantly decreased in Group 3 compared with those in Group 1. CONCLUSIONS: Patients with snake bite envenomation had increased oxidants (MPO and LOOH) and decreased antioxidants (PON, ARLY, and -SH). Results obtained in this study demonstrate that snake bites are associated with a shift to oxidative status. Therapy with antioxidants can lead to an increase in the antioxidant defense system, and thus improvements in clinical symptoms.

Concepts: Antioxidant, Touring car racing, Glutathione, Cysteine, Snakebite, Viperidae, Thiol, Snake venom


Polygalacturonic acid (PGA) hydrogel cross-linked via disulfide bonds was synthesized using a thiol oxidation reaction. PGA was grafted with cysteine to yield thiolated PGA (denoted PGAcys). Per gram, PGA-conjugated cysteine was 725 ± 77 μmol, and the degree of modification was 16.24 %. A PGAcys hydrogel film was fabricated under physiological conditions, with gel content 91.6 % and water content 43.3 %. The PGAcys hydrogel was used as a drug carrier for rosmarinic acid (RA) (denoted PGAcys/RA) and to prevent postsurgical adhesion. The in vitro dynamic release behavior of RA from the PGAcys hydrogel was analyzed. The profiles showed that 80 % of the total RA was released from the hydrogel within 15 min, followed by zero-order kinetic release. Animal implant studies showed that PGAcys and PGAcys/RA hydrogel films reduced adhesion incidence by over 90 %, significantly higher than did Hyaluronate/Carboxymethylcellulose (analogous Seprafilm™) (42 %). The PGAcys/RA hydrogel film also reduced the early inflammatory reaction.

Concepts: Photosynthesis, Carbon dioxide, Hydrogen, Redox, Disulfide bond, Thiol